'Armed militants infiltrating', but Mizoram may face shortage of central forces

Nirendra Dev

There are already a large number of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar and Bangladesh taking shelter in Mizoram. The Manipur unrest has added about 30,000 internally displaced people and to make things more complex there are apprehensions that now 'armed militants' from Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh have also entered the state.
The Lawngtlai-based Lawngtlai Young Association (YLA) has claimed that the Bangladeshi militants are involved in armed smuggling and could also start 'armed training' in Mizoram territory.
Recently, three suspected people from Myanmar were arrested in border areas for allegedly trying to smuggle weapons.
Amid such a situation, the security agencies may face yet another complication and that is the 'manpower shortage' of central and para military forces. Of course, Mizoram falls under 'peace zone' in the northeast in military parlance along with Meghalaya and Tripura.
"But the fact of the matter is there are only three battalions of Assam Rifles in Mizoram including one at capital Aizawl and as this makes only around 2000 men and officers. Compared to Mizoram, Nagaland has 14-15 battalions and so the apprehension in certain quarters is that Mizoram too could soon require additional forces," a source told 'Nagaland Page'.
Sources also maintained till May even Manipur was clubbed as a 'peace zone state' but within days things deteriorated and now things are practically out of control despite deployment of forces and repeated appeals for peace by Home Ministry, Governor and others.
In the wake of Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh himself making an announcement, a combined team of Manipur Police and Central Security Forces on Wednesday destroyed four 'illegal bunkers' set up in Kangpokpi, Imphal West and Churachandpur districts.
To defend from 'attacks' in connection with the ongoing clashes, a number of illegal bunkers were  set up in adjoining peripheral areas of Meitei and Kuki villages by both the communities. "But the security protocol clearly says these are illegal and are threats to peace and to security forces and hence have to be destroyed".
The central security forces in Manipur are facing major 'occupational hazards' in the absence of enforcement of the provisions of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).
"The withdrawal of AFSPA was a populist measure and the Biren Singh ministry wants to stick to their political commitment that the controversial law would be withdrawn. So that is the reality today and despite constraints for the forces to discharge their duties, the AFSPA provisions are not being deployed," the source explained.
Opposition parties stage walkout from Parliamentary panel:
Meanwhile, Opposition members walked out of a Parliamentary panel meeting on Thursday after theirdemand for a discussion on the law and order situation in Manipur was not met.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs was meeting to hear the views of State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana on the subject ‘Prison – Conditions, Infrastructure and Reforms’.”
Among those who staged the walk out include Congress lawaakers Digvijaya Singh and Pradeep Bhattacharya and Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien.
The Opposition parties led by Congress have from time to time in the last two months have hit out at the ruling BJP government over the ethnic violence in the state.
In a letter dated June 19, the Opposition parties blamed “the divide and rule politics of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state for having failed to contain the violence in Manipur”.
The letter also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” over the matter.
Headed by BJP-member Brijlal, the Standing Committee on Home affairs also has former Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Neeraj Shekhar, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Rakesh Sinha as the members.