Maoists trying to establish foothold in northeast: Mooshahary

Shillong, May 12 (IANS) Meghalaya Governor R.S. Mooshahary Sunday cautioned that Maoists were trying to establish their foothold in India’s northeastern region.

“The Assam government has received a few indications that Maoists are trying to establish a foothold in the state. The plain areas along the Meghalaya-Assam border could be vulnerable to Maoists,” Mooshahary told IANS.

The Assam government had earlier formed a task force to combat the Maoists, and it had found that there were 181 Maoist cadres, including women, active in the state.

Intelligence officials said Maoist leaders in Assam were trying to establish links with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and other militant outfits in the northeast region to procure arms and ammunition.

However, Mooshahary said no indications have been found yet of the presence of Maoists in other states of the northeastern region.

“In the northeast, tribals have been involved in one fight or another. They have been fighting over historical and ethnic issues, which are completely different from the issues faced by tribals in central India,” Mooshahary said.

“Tribals in the northeast have realised that there are remedial measures within the constitution to resolve their grievances. This realisation is leading underground elements to come up and lead a normal life,” he said.

Stating that the situation in the northeast has largely improved, Mooshahary, who was also the former chief of the Border Security Force (BSF), said: “The law and order situation has improved a lot in the region except in Manipur. The current trend is towards peace.”

The Meghalaya governor, however, urged the state governments in the region to improve governance and step up the fight against corruption, eradicate poverty and provide employment.

“I don’t think Maoists are instigated by anyone. They are not satisfied with the Indian State due to lack of basic necessities,” Mooshahary said.

“Factors like poverty, exploitation, lack of good governance, unemployment and corruption are giving sufficient incentives to Maoists to spread their message of establishing an egalitarian society. These are the factors that breed discontentment,” he added.

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