Gorkhatimes

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Offensive to free Tirap of militants

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 22, 2009

Security forces in Tirap.

Security forces in Tirap.

Khonsa (Tirap), Sept. 21(The Telegraph): Security forces in Arunachal Pradesh are planning a massive anti-insurgency operation to free Tirap district from the grip of the two NSCN factions. With the home ministry already approving a state government proposal, eight additional companies of central forces will arrive in the state to launch the operation ahead of the Assembly elections on October 13.

Tirap superintendent of police Anil Shukla confirmed that the operation was on the cards but refused to divulge anything beyond that “at this juncture.”

However, sources in the district and police administration said the flush-out operations are likely to begin soon.

“It will be a Herculean task to carry out any flush-out operations in the district given its tough geographical terrain, including dense jungles. Besides, the district is spread over 2,200 square km and to cover that much area we require more forces,” a source said.

Unlike most of the other northeastern states, Arunachal Pradesh does not have any homegrown terrorist outfits.

However, both the factions of the NSCN, had been creating trouble in the state — primarily in the twin districts of Tirap and Changlang — demanding that they become part of the Greater Nagaland.

For more than a decade now there had been a series of factional clashes between the two Naga groups along with extortion demands — right from a paan shop owner to a government official — and killings for failure to pay up.

A source said more troops — including specialised forces — have been sought along with modern weaponry and other logistical support for the operation.

At present, Arunachal Pradesh has only one battalion each of Assam Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force and 190 men from the state police.

Although the Tirap SP refused to divulge the exact number of security forces that has been sought for the flush-out operations, a source pegged the number at eight additional battalions.

“We will have to allow some acclimatisation period for the additional troops, after that we will begin the operations,” the source said.

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