The outlawed Ulfa might soon have to battle a new breed of soldiers—clones of John Rambo.
Unsettled by a string of subversive attacks, specifically against Hindi-speaking people, the Assam government has decided to set up a crack force of jungle specialists. Members of this battalion will be trained to be ultimate commandos, living off the jungles, taming any kind of terrain and defying pain to catch militants.
Along with raising a battalion of Rambo-like fighters, the government would also be involving local people for intelligence gathering against militants.
“We have decided to set up a special force trained for jungle warfare,” chief minister Tarun Gogoi said here on Friday. “There’s no time-frame for this battalion, but we want to raise it as soon as possible.”
Unlike the commando unit and special task force active in counter-insurgency operations, the “jungle cats” will not be required to return to base after an offensive. “Their mandate will be to live in the jungles for sustained operations until the job is done,” Gogoi said, adding the jungle specialists will be used for deep penetration anywhere across Assam.
According to Gogoi, the propensity of militants to strike in remote, isolated pockets, particularly those inhabited by settlers, has necessitated the new battalion. “We are weighing the army’s Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairangte in Mizoram as one of the options to train this force,” he said.
Gogoi further said his government was hastening the process of filling up some 6,000 vacancies in the police force besides dividing the troubled Karbi Anglong into two police districts. The Ministry of Home Affairs had suggested three in the district, India’s second largest spanning over 10,000 sq km.
The under-staffed Assam Police has been feeling the militant heat. Earlier this month, Gogoi told the Assembly that police has only 41,189 constables and 3,218 sub-inspectors. There are 3,997 vacancies for constables and 571 for sub-inspectors.