With rebel groups increasingly using social media to recruit activists, as many as 1,561 youths from Assam have joined them since 2016.
Intelligence agencies have informed the Assam government that insurgent groups, especially Ulfa-Independent have been spreading their ideas on Facebook, Messenger and Twitter and are attracting young boys and girls to join them.
“During 2021-22, the cyber dome project launched by the special branch of our police has identified 990 social media sites, which are anti-national and support insurgent groups. Based on such posts, at least 100 cases have been registered in different police stations in Assam. At least 85 people have been arrested for such posts and 581 people have been counseled by our police forces in the presence of their parents so far. The police also removed 400 such fingerprints,” said Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in a statement to the state assembly on Monday.
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Sarma, who is also the home minister, disclosed the information while answering questions from senior Congress leader Debarata Saikia.
“They are trying to attract our youth to join them, but our police personnel have also thwarted many such attempts,” Sarma confirmed.
He said that the information provided by various organizations shows that between 2016 and 2022 the youth joined Ulfa-Independent, National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), National Liberation Front of Bodoland (NLFB) and two groups. and other small insurgents, the People’s Democratic Assembly. Karbi Longri (PDCK) and People’s Revolutionary Front United PDCK and UPRF.
The NDFB was disbanded after its leaders signed an agreement with the government in December 2020 and the NLFB also came out of hiding and laid down its arms; Negotiations are underway to enter into an agreement with them as well.
The announcement that more than 1,500 young men and women had joined the rebel groups was significant as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government said the insurgency in the state was almost over.
Ulfa-Independent, led by rebel leader Paresh Baruah, has, however, remained absent from the peace talks and has reportedly been trying to “recruit” local youth. Baruah is also said to be unwilling to join the debate on her central demand for “Sovereign Assam”.
The National Investigation Agency recently conducted investigations in at least 16 locations in seven districts to find evidence related to the recruitment of Ulfa-I.