Saturday, August 7, 2010

Two BSF troopers killed by terrorists in Tripura

In the first major terror strike in Tripura this year, at least two Border Security Force (BSF) troopers were killed on Friday in a bomb blast triggered by insurgents near the border with Bangladesh, police said. "A powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was exploded when BSF jawans were patrolling on foot along the India-Bangladesh border killing two para-military personnel on the spot," police spokesman Nepal Das told reporters.The tribal guerrillas belonging to the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) also fired on the BSF personnel immediately after the blast at Ratia in northern Tripura, 170 km north of Tripura capital Agartala.Das said: "The two riflemen - Arup Das (31) and Brajendri Lal (34) - died instantly while the other BSF troopers retaliated with gunfire."Senior police and BSF officials rushed with reinforcements to the spot and launched a combing operation to nab the extremists.The banned NLFT along with another outlawed outfit, All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), has been fighting for an independent tribal homeland in Tripura and operates out of Bangladesh.This was the first militant attack this year in Tripura, bordering Bangladesh.The last terror strike had taken place Nov 9 last year in which eight tribal villagers, including four women, were killed and another woman injured by NLFT rebels.The NLFT and the ATTF along with other terrorist outfits of the northeast for the past many years have been boycotting national days, Republic Day and Independence day, and observe bandhs and hoist black flags in their respective areas of domination.

Assam allows forest officials to use firearms

The Assam government has authorised the use of firearms by forest staff to ensure better protection of its forests and wildlife, an official said on Friday. "The order also provides immunity to forest officials from prosecution without prior sanction in case of firing incidents," VK Bisnoi, principal chief conservator of forests (general), said on phone.He said: "Forest officials in the past needed a licence to use firearms. Now they don't need one and are at par with the police. They will be able to use firearms like SLR rifles and other weapons." He added that all forest officers from front-line staff to the senior-most members of the department can use firearms.However, a magisterial enquiry will probe the firing cases and criminal proceedings can be initiated against erring officials if the use of firearms is proven "unnecessary, unwarranted and excessive", the order released by the governor's office July 14 said."We have been waiting for this order for a long time. When we approached Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, they were very supportive and agreed on the need for this order," the official said.He said: "We are currently checking if the police has spare weapons that we can take. It will depend on the availability of funds for buying new weapons."The NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) said that the measure will help tackle mounting threats to forests and wildlife in protected areas.The under-equipped front-line staff have been in a disadvantage position when fighting organised poaching gangs, it said.WTI coordinator Rathin Barman said: "It will give a big boost to their morale, as forest officials will now have the same powers as the police."

Naga militant groups merge

Two Naga rebel groups have merged to “rewrite” history and Nagaland’s political equation with New Delhi. The Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) and the Non-Accordist faction of Naga National Council (NNC) declared the merger of their two ‘governments’ at Vihokhu village, 20 km east of here on Thursday. The NNC led by the legendary A.Z Phizo had declared independence of Nagaland on 14 January 1947 before fighting a long battle with Indian security forces. It signed the Shillong Accord in 1975, but the truce bred resentment and several factions. One group formed the NNC (Non-Accordist) while the other formed the NSCN in 1980. Eight years later, the NSCN split into the Khaplang and Isak-Muivah (IM) faction. Fratricidal battles have marked Naga insurgency since. Infighting did not end even after the NSCN-IM declared ceasefire with New Delhi in July 1997 and NSCN-K in January 2001. Of the two, only NSCN-IM has held peace talks with the Centre. “This is a historic day, and we have taken a step toward unification of all Naga tribes and political entities,” said NSCN-K leader Kughalu Mulatonu at a ‘Thanksgiving Service’ to mark the merger. “Today, two governments have become one.” According to NNC leader Zhopra Vero, the merger move began in June laster year after a covenant of reconciliation was inked. “We will now be working on the modalities of renaming the new government and its military wing,” he said. The merger was also a “reminder” to NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah about where he stands in Nagaland’s political scenario. “There is no role for him in Nagaland,” said Mulatonu, indicating NSCN-IM was a “terror group” that New Delhi was talking to.