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HVK Archives: Islamic militancy may eclipse all movements

Islamic militancy may eclipse all movements - The Hindustan Times

Darshan Balwally ()
2 February 1997

Title : Islamic militancy may eclipse all movements
Author : Darshan Balwally
Publication : The Hindustan Times
Date : February 2, 1997

Islamic militancy is all set to eclipse every insurgent
movement in the north eastern region by the end of this

A large number of Muslim youths from Nalbari district of
Assam, especially from Hojai where the World Muslim
Conference was held in 1993, Nilbagan and Marajhar areas
as also Karimganj district in the Barak valley, have
begun to swarm training camps set up in Myanmar and
Bangladesh along the international borders with India.

Interrogations of several youths, chiefly school droop
outs in the age groups of 15 to 25 years have been
receiving elementary arms training from Naga insurgents
in the hill tracts in Ukhrul district of Manipur and the
bordering areas of Myanmar.

Similarly, training camps in Sylhet district of
Bangladesh as also the Chittagong Hills are imparting
training and the necessary religious indoctrination to
the youth to violence in the north eastern region as also
other parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh and
Bihar among others.

Security agencies are appalled at the centre's consistent
attempts to soft-pedal the insurgency problems especially
with the two government of Bangladesh and Bhutan which
too has rapidly emerged as yet another prime location for
camps imparting arms training.

Security officials pointed out that despite the Sheikh
Hasina regime in Bangladesh, believed to be more friendly
towards India than the previous regimes, the training
camps are far from being busted. Instead, newer camps are
cropping up aided by the military establishment of the
neighbouring country in collaboration with the Inter-
Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

Safe houses continue to be provided to the leaders of
insurgent movement either with or without the knowledge
of the Sheikh Hasina regime.

Moreover, the surfeit of arms including sophisticated
grenade and rocket launchers continue to be off-loaded at
numerous unlikely spots along the coastal belt of
Bangladesh primarily in and around Cox's Bazar. These
weapons are reportedly being smuggled in from Thailand,
where the insurgents also have their base camps to
facilitate travel to international fora to politicise
their cause.

Several Muslim youths from Hojai and nearby villages upon
interrogation have reportedly revealed that the ISI has
set up an elaborate scheme of locally obtained agent
provocateurs to enlist the uneducated youth to be sent to
the training camps. Reportedly these agents were to have
held a meeting headed by an ISI agent in Achar area near
Morigaon in Nagaon district in September last.

However, the meeting did not materialise as word about it
leaked to the security forces who were geared to
apprehend the group. One senior security official
speaking to The Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity
asid that the Muslim youth being enticed into the arms
training camps primarily belonged to those inhabitants
who had entered Indian territory after thee Bangladesh
Liberation War of 1971 from erstwhile East Pakistan.

While the original Muslim settlers prior to Indian
independence had been completely assimilated into the
Assamese society and identified with the customs and
traditions of Assam, the new settlers were most

Vulnerability of this huge mass of new settlers was
related to the insecurity arising out of the attempts by
various social organisations in the state agitating for
their head-count and deportation back to Bangladesh.

In a bid to secure themselves, youth from this new group
of settlers, were most attracted to an armed struggle to
entrench themselves in Assam and other States in the
north eastern region. The utter failure of the Centre and
the State Government to take immediate and lasting steps
to either assimilate these new settlers or to deport them
has aggravated the situation.

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