Mon 4 Jun 2007
Filed under: News,Regional
Weapons sourced from Burma is fuelling insurgency in the northeast regions of India, according to the top brass of the Assam Rifles, India’s security force guarding the porous Indo-Burma international border.
Senior officers felt that inflow of a large quantity of arms from neighbouring Burma is helping rebels and allowing terrorism to thrive in the border state of Manipur.
The Assam Rifles which has replaced the Border Security Force along the northeastern front now wants effective policing of the border.
Major General B K Chengapa, Inspector General of Assam Rifles, headquarters (South) based in Manipur’s Mantripukhuri sector near Imphal said that the disturbed environment in neighbouring Burma has led to the inflow of arms and drugs to Manipur which in turn, has facilitated insurgency and terrorism in the state.
The General who looks after and supervises his troops deployed at important entry points like Moreh in Chandel district, Kamjong, Kasom Khullen, Huishi and Poi in Ukhrul district and Singhat in Churachandpur district in Manipur expressed his views during the formal inauguration of a newly renovated rehabilitation centre for surrendered Insurgents in Imphal. The rehabilitation centre which was re-opened by the IG in Lamphelpat area near Imphal presently houses around 22 former insurgents belonging to various underground outfits.
The Indo-Burma border is porous and this problem has to be addressed as part of the process of containing insurgency in Manipur, the IG said.
“The Assam Rifles has been given the task of guarding the border here. But unlike the western sector, the border here could not be effectively guarded because of shortage of security forces,” he said.
The task of protecting the border would be gradually extended along the 490-kilometre stretch of the Indo-Burma international border.
There are around 20 insurgent groups operating in Manipur according to official reports available here. All the outfits belong to various ethnic communities and their objectives range from “restoring sovereignty” of the region to protecting the interest of their respective ethnic communities. Interestingly there are over 30 ethnic communities settled in Manipur state alone.
As a result over the past couple of years violence and extortion has escalated. It may be worth mentioning here that Oxfam’s International report (September 2006 issue) on “India and the arms trade treaty” clearly says that Mandalay in central Burma and its border town Tamu are the birth places of illegal arms smuggling across the porous Indo-Burma border.
In the illegal arms market in Tamu town, a hand grenage costs Rs 600 while a unit of ammunition for automatic weapons costs only Rs 25.The rates charged by gun runners is not very complex and is even known to security forces, the report said.
Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve police force, Indian reserve police battalion and state forces deployed in the north eastern states have seized approximately 39,000 AK series rifles in the last six years.