ULFA morale hit as more cadres surrender
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Series of surrenders and a string of encounter deaths during the past month has crippled the ULFA, with security forces saying the morale of the outfit has hit an all-time low.
As many as 118 militants have surrendered in the past one month, 68 of them on Thursday, while at least 10 have been killed in encounters with security forces. Twelve others were arrested from different parts of the state.
Thursday's surrender of 68 militants, 66 of whom are from the ULFA, is the biggest in recent times with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi describing it to be the result of "growing disillusionment" within the outfit.
"Thursday's surrender proves that there has been a growing disillusionment among the ULFA cadres. But what is worrying the Government is that the outfit might attempt some fresh strikes to prove that it is still powerful. We have already received intelligence inputs on the matter," Gogoi said.
On October 23, a group of 31 cadres laid down arms before R N Mathur, DG of Assam Police, and Lt Gen B S Jaswal, GoC of Army's 4 Corps, at Brigade Headquarters, while another 14 surrendered in Tinsukia on Monday.
Between September 2006 and September 2007, the Army has killed 48 ULFA militants, apprehended 98 and "neutralised" 371 overground workers.
With Thursday's surrenders, the total number of ULFA cadres to have laid down arms has gone up to 8,718. Assam Police IG (Special Branch) Khagen Sarma said, while 4,993 cadres surrendered between 1991 and 1998, the number of those who came out between 1998 (when a Central rehabilitation policy was implemented) and 2005 was 3,435.
"The total number of cadres who surrendered since talks were initiated with the People's Consultative Group in 2005 is 290, which includes today's 66," Sarma added.
"These surrenders prove beyond doubt that ULFA is now a highly demoralised force," said Lt Gen Jaswal. He added that more cadres were also sending feelers to the security forces expressing their willingness to surrender.
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