Shillong: Indian insurgents groups (IIGs) are “still looming” Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts and a few areas bordering Meghalaya, a Border Security Force (BSF) official said on Tuesday.
“There are no organised camps as such, but individually some of the IIGs are still there. They are moving to and fro Bangladesh and India individually,” Principal Staff Officer of BSF Meghalaya Frontier, D Haokip told reporters on the eve of the 57th BSF raising day.
Haokip said the issue was also taken up in the IG level talks between the BSF and the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), which concluded here in Meghalaya on Monday. Unlike the previous Bangladesh regime that patronise the IIGs during its tenure, the BSF official said the present dispensation has taken a different approach and put a lot of pressure on the IIGs and destroyed their camps.
However, individuals from militant outfits do cross over to India and return periodically as they have the advantage of having some friends or relatives based in Bangladesh who assist them in this cross border movement.
Haokip revealed that insurgents of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Twirpra (NLFT) are still taking shelter in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, while camps of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland have been “smashed” by the present ruling government.
“As far as United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is concerned, the remnants of (Drishti) Rajkhowa are crossing over to Bangladesh in the area of Garo Hills on and off, but they don’t have organised camp (in Bangladesh) but they have certain relatives and supporters so they go and they come sometimes,” the BSF official said.
Similarly, he said that the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) does not have any active camp in Bangladesh but very few of them have relatives and supporters across the border.
“Despite all our efforts, there is a chance for not only militants but smugglers to sneak through the porous border and added that as far as Meghalaya is concerned, there have been no cases of arms smuggling nor has there been any seizure,” Haokip said.
Stating that the BSF is constantly vigilant to nab such insurgents, the senior BSF official however said due to the difficult terrain and the porous nature of the border between India and Bangladesh in different patches, individual militants have been able to manage to sneak in.
Moreover, Haokip said that the border has remained porous in some paths due to difficulties in land acquisition.
He pointed to Meghalaya’s unique land tenure system which has made it difficult to construct the border fence. Moreover, demand to construct the fence right on the zero line has also created hurdles, as Bangladesh has opposed such construction near the zero line citing international norms. Nonetheless the BSF is managing to guard the border with the resources in hand, he added.