In Assam it is the terrorists that set the agenda
Almost like Schrodinger’s cat, the UPA government’s position on terrorism in general, and in Assam in particular, is unknowable. Until, of course, the terrorists themselves make it known. Like yesterday, when they set off three explosions killing at least 17 and wounding scores of others. That’s when it becomes clear that whatever it was the UPA government was doing about terrorism has failed. [See Offstumped]
In fact, the government does not even have a clear sense as to the perpetrators behind the attack. ULFA is a likely suspect, but the chief minister of Assam has suggested that the jihadi hand cannot be ruled out. The ULFA had sufficient time to regroup, which it did quite visibly. And jihadi infiltration from Bangladesh has been known to be a problem for some time now. ULFA and the jihadis have links with each other, enjoy sanctuaries across the border in Bangladesh, and are linked to Pakistan’s ISI. It is, no doubt, important to find out who exactly is behind the attacks. But that should not distract attention from the course the UPA government should have taken, and must take now.
There is nothing in ULFA’s track record that suggests that its leaders are prepared to negotiate a peaceful settlement on anything other than their own terms. Counter-terrorism therefore requires the use of military force until such a point that it is no longer capable of armed violence. The ULFA leadership itself should be targeted—even if parts of it are holed out outside Indian territory. Once this is accomplished a political solution will be easier to arrive at.