The Task Force constituted by the Assam government to study the growth of Maoists in the State admitted in its report that Assam stands to face a stiff challenge in the days to come from Maoists. Therefore, a comprehensive action plan needs to be implemented quickly to deal with the growth of the Maoists in Assam and other parts of Northeast India. While Left Wing Extremism (LWE) does not as of now have a major presence in North East Region (NER), its growth is a potential threat to infrastructural development which serves as a bedrock to strengthen our North-eastern borders and a prerequisite to growth and development of this landlocked region.
In 2012, it was officially reported that Maoist had established three ‘command centres’ in the State – near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh, Assam-Nagaland and Assam-West Bengal borders. In Assam alone, 25 to 30 armed cadres are in operation under Mahesh, a Central Committee member from Rabha community. Of the 79 police stations in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Dhemaji and Lakhmipur districts of Assam, 23 were affected by LWE with cadres extorting small tea garden owners, cattle-rearing farmers and individuals to sustain themselves. Maoists are sending newly recruited cadres from Assam to some central Indian States for training to raise its armed wing in Assam under the banner of the Revolutionary People's Guerrilla Army. They are establishing separate channels in the Northeast, particularly in Nagaland, for procurement of arms and ammunition and have developed close ties with insurgent groups such as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur. Arrests of Adivasi Tiger Force militants have confirmed that Maoists are trying to spread ideological training by recruiting unemployed Adivasi youth. The Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi alleged that “Maoists were given training by Nagaland’s NSCN in some place outside Assam by taking advantage of the ceasefire agreement with the government of India”. In Arunachal Pradesh too Maoists have set up bases in Lower Dibang Valley and Lohit districts.
According to Mr. Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (North East), “The Northeast region became an attractive hub for LWE because of the region’s encirclement and the existence of the arms market of Southeast Asia as well as that of China. The history of the Northeast shows a very old history of violence; once the main component of ULFA was dissipated, there was a vacuum created, in Assam in particular, which LWE tried to fill hoping that the remaining extremist element of the NDFB and the ULFA would provide them with a ready support.” Although authorities state that the LWE movement in Northeast is limited and brief, an abysmal state of development, constraint free availability of arms and ammunition through porous borders and a wide base of unemployed youth available for recruitment confirms that threat of Maoist dispersion still persists.
As seen in the recent Muzaffarabad riots, trouble-free access and possession of arms have amplified the threats that extremist elements pose to our social order. Several studies have quoted the involvement of China in instigating instability in India with arms and military training. "The logic seems to be: keep the North-east on the boil and simultaneously profit from arms sales," says a senior military intelligence official. It has also been noted that unlike the Indo-Pak relationship which is discussed in detail, the threat posed by Chinese engagement to our internal security is not discussed overtly.