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Report reveals 36% fall in NE militancy

A counter-insurgency operation in Tinsukia

Guwahati: Insurgency-related incidents in the Northeast dropped by 36 per cent in 2017, the lowest in 20 years, which is likely to provide a boost to the Centre's initiative to project the otherwise restive region as a new investment destination.

The annual report of the home ministry (2017-18) said such incidents decreased to 308 in 2017 compared to 484 in 2016 while Mizoram and Tripura reported no such incident in 2017.

Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland reported over 50 per cent decline in incidents but it increased by 22 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh despite the state having no local insurgent group.

The death of security forces and civilians owing to militant attacks declined during 2017 while the killing and arrest of militants in counter-insurgency operations also yielded more results compared to 2016.

Nagaland, which has faced militancy since 1980, saw a 67 per cent decline in insurgency-related incidents - from 58 in 2016 to 19 in 2017.

Four militants were killed and 171 arrested while 87 weapons were recovered in the state in 2017.

The report said Assam had witnessed "substantial improvement" in the security situation as most of the outfits continue to be in ceasefire.

The state reported 56 per cent decline in insurgency-related incidents from 75 in 2016 to 33 in 2017. Ulfa (Independent) and NDFB (Songbijit), however, remained active in the state.

Manipur accounted for about 54 per cent of total violent incidents in the region with the state reporting 167 of the 308 incidents during 2017. The state, however, witnessed 28 per cent decline in such incidents from 233 in 2016 to 167 in 2017. The number of civilian deaths, on the other hand, went up from 11 to 23.

Arunachal Pradesh continued to be a worry although it has no insurgent group of its own. "The state is affected by spillover militant activities of NSCN factions, Ulfa (I), NDFB (S) which use the state as a transit corridor to reach their hideouts in Myanmar. The state witnessed 61 incidents in 2017, in which nine insurgents were killed and 44 other arrested. The state reported 27 extortion and abduction cases," the report said.

The findings come at a time when the Centre is projecting the Northeast as the new investment destination for Southeast Asian countries.

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