From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, Aug 7: A sense of panic has gripped the people, mixed population of tribals and non tribals, living in the Dalaicherra, Sonpurpunji, Lodibasti, Kumacherra, Borokumpi and the adjoining areas under Joypur police station in the Lakhipur subdivision of Cachar, bordering the Dima Hasao district, divided by the Jinam Valley. According to the information, a group of 12 to 14 armed men were seen by the inhabitants of Dalaicherra moving around recently.
Giving details of their movement in the hilly and forested areas, James Kuki said since last Friday, the militants have been making their presence in the areas. Though they have not indulged in any major incident related to extortions or ransom, their movement has forced many families to desert their homes and shift to safer places of Lakhipur. After the dusk on Monday, the group targeted the Khasiapunji of Sonpur, near Borokumpi, beat up the headman Lalins Khasia, took away his mobile set and threatened him with the warning that all the residents of the Punji will have to pay monthly taxes to them. A boy of the area was taken by them to guide them who was later on released.
It is to be recollected that a few days ago, a school going boy Abhijit Barman was kidnapped by extremists from his uncle’s residence at Kumacherra. The boy was however rescued by police after manhunt from a village on the other side of the Jinam Valley under the police station of Mahur. Though his family sources denied having received any ransom note, the incident has sent a grim reminder of the insurgency days which have seen series of incidents, often gory. The kidnapping of Abhijit has become a cause of worry among parents and guardians of the school going children.
Biresh Chandra Nath, sub divisional officer (civil) of Lakhipur, said the identity of the militants could not be identified. In the wake of their movements, a joint operation by police, CRPF and 22 Assam Rifles has been launched to track their movement. The operation is on under the command of Joypur police station officer in charge, D Gogoi. The SDO added to say that a community liaison group (CLG) meeting attended by the headmen of the Punjis, gaon panchayats, citizens of all communities was held in the premises of Joypur police station in which the problem was discussed and it was resolved to fight unitedly against any attempt to disturb peace and harmony in the area. The meeting at the same time committed itself to maintain peace at any cost. The CLG at the same time assured to cooperate with the local administration in fighting against militancy.
Resurfacing of the shadow of militancy has raised question and quite justifiably about the identity of the extremists after the surrender by two factions of Dima Halam Dagoa, one led by Dilip Nunisa and the other by Jewel Gorlosa. It was expected that the curtain on insurgency was drawn finally and that there would be no rerun of militancy. Perhaps, the lure of easy and slush money earned at the point of gun has still kept the misguided adventurists underground. Just in the wake of the farewell to arms by Dilip and Jewel, Hills Tiger Force came into being and refreshed the bouts of insurgency.
Hills Tiger Force was floated to cash on the resentment among the non Dimasa people, following the renaming of North Cachar Hills as Dima Hasao district. The outfit was led by Kapchy Naga, chairman, and consisted of the representatives to its various other posts from different tribes. It is to be recalled that serious resentment prevailed among the hill tribes of Zeme, Kuki, Karbi, Jaintia, Hmar, Vaipei, Baeti and Hrangkhal. With the busting of their hideouts and the arrest of all the top leaders in a major operation by the police and the army, the backbone of the HTF was broken and now it is a spent force.
Apart from slush money through extortions and ransom for kidnappings, the difficult hilly terrain with forested covers come to the advantage of the extremists to keep them ‘kicking and going’. Moreover, if NSCN (IM), the fountainhead of militant groups of north east can give the backing, it come as a great booster. With specific reference to Dima Hasao district, earlier North Cachar Hills, it can be said NSCN(IM) has been behind the formation of the first militant group in the area known as Dimasa National Security Force under the command of Bharat Langthasa. DHD factions were also propped up by the IM group.
Though the security forces are yet to identify the extremist group making forays in the extreme Northeast belt of Lakhipur sub division of Cachar, indications are that the recently floated Dimasa National Revolutionary Front led by Diamond Dimasa in tandem with NSCN (IM) is now trying to assert itself by taking recourse to ‘terror-tactics’. It has been involved in a number of kidnappings, killings and extortions inside Dima Hasao district. The civil and police administration of Lakhipur in close coordination with the army has been monitoring the situation. Patrolling in the troubled zone has been intensified in order to foil any mischief by the group in wilderness.