‘Many rebel groups moving towards forming govt-in-exile’

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 12, 2015 01:04 IST

The Indian Army's attack on insurgent camps along the Indo-Myanmar border will boost attempts by insurgent groups fighting for sovereignty in the northeast to set up a government-in-exile with a mobile capital.

“Various insurgent organisations with military bases along the Indo-Myanmar border are moving forward to set up a government-in-exile despite initial points of disagreement between them. The formation of the alliance called United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) was the first step and a prelude,” sources told HT.

Senior journalist Rajeev Bhattacharyya, who wrote a book after spending about four months amongst the insurgents in Myanmar in 2012, corroborated the plans to set up a government-in-exile.

“In a series of meetings in March-April 2015 among top functionaries of rebel outfits, it was decided to expedite the process and put in place the government-in-exile by the year-end. It was also decided in the meeting to step up efforts to get support from foreign countries for the government-in-exile. The June 9 attack will only add impetus to the move to unify,” Bhattacharyya told HT.

A letter sent to HT dated April 17, 2015, had announced the formation of the UNLFW comprising the NSCN (K), ULFA, National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

“I am not surprised. The fragmented groups have diminished capacities. All of them trying to unite to form a credible organisation together is but natural,” said anti-terror expert Ajay Sahni.

The growing unity is also evident in the fact that three written communications by three groups —NSCN (Khaplang group), People’s Liberation Army (PLA—a Meitei insurgent organisation) and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) -- denied that the Indian Army had inflicted any major casualties on any group on June 9.

“A PLA top functionary said some Indian Army soldiers had briefly exchanged fire but they went back after a brief exchange of gunfire leaving some ammunition behind. His view has been echoed by ULFA functionaries who spoke from an undisclosed location to me on Wednesday” Bhattacharyya said.

With the Indian forces on high alert now, not much retaliation is expected because of the insurgents’ guerrilla warfare style.

“The rebels will strike, withdraw and wait for the next opportunity to plan out an operation,” Bhattacharyya said.

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