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Since 1st March, 1999
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Dispur mulls peace with DHD-J

April 21: A spate of attacks by the militant Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel Gorlosa) in North Cachar Hills has forced Dispur to consider a truce with the outfit after having spurned its olive branch earlier.

Dispur also sent fresh directives to security personnel in the district today after it came to light that they had not followed security instructions.

Highly placed sources today said realisation had dawned upon the government that fighting the outfit with the present set-up in the hills was not making much sense.

“We are actually getting nowhere,” a senior official said, adding that any declaration of the government’s intention would have to wait till the elections were over.

“Doors for a ceasefire are always open. We are ready to walk the extra mile, but we would like the other side to appreciate that violence will lead nowhere. Till then, we will continue with our counter-insurgency operations.”

Dispur’s realisation has a lot to do with reports about the morale of police and civil officials deployed in the volatile district hitting rock bottom.

At least 10 persons have been killed, eight of them security personnel, in six attacks by the DHD (J) in the past fortnight.

Seven persons were killed yesterday when the group attacked a convoy and an office of a private cement company. Five IRB personnel and a driver were killed in the ambush on the convoy while a casual labourer, H. Haloi, was killed in the second attack. Haloi’s body was recovered this morning from under the water reservoir that he had climbed to talk on his mobile phone. The outfit had also attacked trains on April 10, 11, 15 and 18.

Sources claimed that most police personnel had thrown up their hands in the fight against the DHD (J), saying they were no match for the outfit in the hostile terrain.

A police official said the district would not only require a “huge injection” of trained and motivated personnel to ensure the success of the operations against the DHD (J), but also the “freedom” to plan and execute the operations.

“Our men are just not used to the terrain whereas it poses no problem for the militants... they were born and have grown up in these parts. We need the training, motivation and freedom,” he added.

The attacks carried out with impunity have also left officials wondering how such a small group could have grown to the level it has.

“Maybe it is time that this angle is looked into, including that of local politicians,” the official said.

Referring to the security directives, a source said, “Precious lives would have been saved had they (the security personnel) followed instructions. They were not wearing bullet-proof vests or travelling in bullet-proof vehicles. If there were no bullet-proof vehicles, extra precaution should have been taken like using sandbags. We have asked our men not to lower their guard”.

Dilip Nunisa, chairman of the group that is in a ceasefire, accused the security forces of “improper planning, carelessness and procrastination” while conducting counter-insurgency operations.

He once again pledged the group’s support in tackling the DHD (J) militants, regretting the government’s lukewarm response to his earlier offer. He, too, called for trained troops to mount “an all-out war” against the Jewel group.

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