Sunday, October 17, 2004

India: Some Intelligence is better than NO Intelligence

The Intelligence Bureau had this year cautioned the government about the drastic change in the demographic profile of the northeast and the staggering rise in the population of Bangladeshi aliens in the region.
The home ministry has directed the Intelligence Bureau to compile a report after a survey focussing on the funding of separatist groups in the northeast, the location of training camps across the Bangladesh border and detailed information on militant groups and their hierarchy, said a highly placed official who did not want to be named. The survey will also examine the presence of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the northeast and their links to terrorist groups.


Government orders intelligence survey of northeast


Terrorism News, New Delhi, Following a spate of bomb attacks and terrorist strikes in the northeast that killed over 80 people this month, the government has asked the country's internal intelligence agency to carry out a special survey of the restive region, officials said.

The home ministry has directed the Intelligence Bureau to compile a report after a survey focussing on the funding of separatist groups in the northeast, the location of training camps across the Bangladesh border and detailed information on militant groups and their hierarchy, said a highly placed official who did not want to be named.

The survey will also examine the presence of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the northeast and their links to terrorist groups.

The official said the Intelligence Bureau had also been asked to suggest steps for dealing with illegal infiltration and the activities of separatist groups like the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), blamed for many of the attacks in Assam during Oct 2-4.

Besides Assam, the commercial hub of Dimapur in neighbouring Nagaland state too was rocked by massive blasts that killed some 40 people. No group has claimed responsibility for these attacks, which have perplexed security officials as the two most powerful separatist groups in Nagaland are currently observing a ceasefire.

Intelligence Bureau officials were tight-lipped about the survey but admitted that the government was informed about the volatile situation in the northeast about two months ago.

It had warned the government that groups like ULFA and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland had begun regrouping after Bhutan evicted many of their cadres from camps in the Buddhist kingdom during a military offensive in December last year.

A senior government official said: "The Intelligence Bureau has been asked to spread its network to gather inside details and play a more active role in the region."

The official said the agency would trace possible links between northeastern separatist outfits and Islamic terrorist groups active in the region.

The Intelligence Bureau had this year cautioned the government about the drastic change in the demographic profile of the northeast and the staggering rise in the population of Bangladeshi aliens in the region.

Though there are no official figures for the aliens, millions of them are believed to be living in states like Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

Intelligence officials also noted that scores of madrassas and mosques had sprung up in different parts of lower Assam along the Bangladesh border over the past 10 months.

One official said the Intelligence Bureau had been asked to track the funding of these madrassas and mosques.

The report completed by the Intelligence Bureau would be passed on to home ministry for framing a policy to efficiently tackle insurgents groups in the northeast.

Indo-Asian News Service 17/10/2004