External Links In Bid To Revive Insurgency In Assam, Punjab: Army Chief

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General Bipin Rawat said internal security is one of the biggest problems in the country

New Delhi:

Attempts are being made through "external linkages" to "revive insurgency" in Punjab and Assam and if early action is not taken, it will be too late, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said today. "Punjab has been peaceful but because of these external linkages, attempts again are being made to revive insurgency in the state," General Rawat said at a gathering of senior Army officers, defence experts, former bureaucrats and police officers at a seminar on security.

"We have to be very careful," he said. "Let us not think that Punjab (situation) is over. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Punjab. And if we do not take early action now, it will be too late," he added.

Punjab saw one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s when the pro-Khalistan movement was at its peak, which was eventually quelled by the government.

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Former Uttar Pradesh top police officer Prakash Singh in a panel discussion also said attempts were being to revive insurgency in Punjab, and cited a pro-Khalistan rally organised recently in the UK.

Hundreds of people had turned out at Trafalgar Square in London on August 12 in support of a pro-Khalistan rally. The Sikhs for Justice group had said its rally was intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020.

Internal security is one of the biggest problems in the country, but the question is "why we have not been able to find a solution, because it has external linkages," General Rawat said.

The event was organised by the defence think-tank CLAWS or Centre for Land and Warfare Studies. General Rawat is its patron.

Asserting that insurgency cannot be dealt only with military force, he pitched for adopting an approach in which all agencies, the government, civil administration, military and police work in an "integrated manner".

"The resolution of Naga insurgency can be a forerunner to the Manipur insurgency situation. There are some linkages between the two. But, if that resolution does not satisfy Manipuris then the insurgency in that state will take a different turn," General Rawat said.

He said even in Assam, attempts are again being made through "external linkages" to revive insurgency.

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