Security forces on Monday launched a massive anti-insurgency operation in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh to hunt for United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants blamed for the recent wave of killings in Assam.
"Security forces of both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have begun a joint offensive to flush out ULFA rebels believed to be taking shelter in our territory," Arunachal Pradesh police chief Amod Kanth said on phone from the state capital Itanagar.
Five districts of Arunachal Pradesh share common border with Assam with intelligence reports indicating that the ULFA was using at least three districts in the region as bases to carry out their hit-and-run guerrilla strikes in Assam.
The security operation is mainly confined to the extremely hostile and thickly wooded terrain in Tirap, Changlang and Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering eastern Assam.
"It is suspected that the ULFA could be using these areas as bases and hence the joint security operation," said the police chief. The ULFA guerrillas allegedly use Arunachal Pradesh as a transit route to their training bases in Myanmar, Kanth added.
Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal hinted in Tinsukia on Sunday at a joint offensive against the ULFA by security forces of both Assam and adjoining Arunachal Pradesh while on a daylong visit to Assam.
It is not immediately known if the army is involved in the operation in Arunachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, federal soldiers are combing pockets in eastern Assam following the recent violence.