FROM A CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, Aug 5: A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has expressed concern over the increasing trend of violent crimes and kidnappings in Assam.
The committee headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram said that Assam has the highest rate of violent crimes, and kidnappings and abductions, among all the states of India.
“The Committee accepts that the insurgency-related instances of kidnappings and extortions may be on a decline, but a general rise in the instances of such crimes is worrying and the Committee is perplexed that despite a waning trend in insurgency, violent crimes and kidnappings have been on a rise,” the committee said in its report submitted recently in the Rajya Sabha.
The Committee apprehends that this rise may be due to poor rehabilitation and settlement of former insurgents who may be indulging in such crimes for ransom. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Central Government, in coordination with the State Governments, should closely monitor the activities of insurgents who have surrendered during the last decade, and also those with whom the government is presently holding negotiations.
The Committee is deeply worried to note that a large number of victims who were kidnapped or abducted in Assam before and during 2016 are yet to be recovered. Even more worrisome is the fact that a large majority, at more than 81 per cent, of victims are women. The Committee is of the view that this may also point towards a connection between such abductions and human trafficking. The Committee, therefore, recommends that an inter-state investigation may be carried out to find out the reasons for this extremely high rate of kidnappings of women.
The Committee also recommends that sustained operations must be launched to trace and recover the victims of kidnappings and abductions. The Committee desires that the Ministry submit a detailed status note about the action taken to recover such victims.
The Committee observes that the Government’s interlocutor, who was appointed for holding talks with the Assam-based insurgent groups, was recently assigned the responsibility to initiate dialogue with various stakeholders in Kashmir due to which the talks with the two factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland have been stalled.
The Committee also notes that due to the stalled talks, the insurgent groups have become restive and have even resorted to hunger strike. The Committee is constrained to observe that there is a lack of seriousness of purpose shown by the Government on this issue, by first shifting the interlocutor to J&K and then not appointing another one immediately.
The Committee cautions the Government that if suspension of talks due to the absence of interlocutor is allowed to become prolonged, the insurgent groups may become further restive and indulge in illegal activities. The Committee is apprehensive that a lack of seriousness by the Government in holding the dialogue with the insurgent groups may result in violation of SoO agreements by them.
The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Government must urgently appoint a separate interlocutor for talks with the Assam-based insurgent groups, particularly NDFB (RD) and NDFB (P).
The Committee also recommends that Government must ensure that the talks are held on a continuous basis with utmost sincerity to keep the insurgent groups at the negotiation table and maintain the security scenario in NER that has been achieved with painstaking efforts and numerous sacrifices.