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Dispur turns tables on army

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, January 2: Amid the blame game over the alleged delayed response to the December 23 carge, Dispur on Friday turned the tables on the Centre claiming that the State was a notified ’disturbed area’ and so the army does not require any "request for requisition" from the State to act for counter insurgency operations.

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday had denied that the Army was late in reacting to the attack by NDFB(S) militants in Assam, and had said that they had to wait for a request from the local administration to operate.

"We were alert about the attack even before the news was flashed in the media. The armed forces stationed there were ready, but we had to wait for request from local administration," Parrikar had said.

The Assam home department today circulated a note to the media stating that the entire State of Assam has been notified by the Centre as a "Disturbed Area" under the provisions of Section 3 of the AF(SP) Act, 1958 and the notification in this regard is still in force due to activities of various insurgent activities.

"In the "disturbed areas", the army is empowered to undertake counter insurgency (Cl) operations against the underground outfits as well as for controlling the violent incidents caused by the groups which have a direct bearing on the general law and order scerio of the State. For taking such action, the Army does not require any order or requisition from the State Government or the District administration. However, only for controlling the law and order situation because of other factors, the army requires requisition order from the civil authority which is issued under the provision of Cr PC, 1973," the note added.

Assam Commissioner & Secretary (home) Prateek Hajela said that to make counter insurgency operations more effective, the Government of India in 1997 had notified the Strategy Group under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary of Assam for working out broad strategies and policy coordition and the Unified Headquarters under the chairmanship of the GOC, IV Corps for operatiol purposes.

A senior official of the home department said the "excuse" by the army that the delay in its response was because it was waiting the "request of requisition" from the local administration does not hold water.

"The central intelligence agencies had claimed that they had prior information. Even the Defence Minister had said that he too had the information. Why didn’t they act then? What was stopping them from acting? Normally, we have seen the army carrying out operations based on information received by the military intelligence in various places in the State," the official said.

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Ankur Kalita

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