Islamic Radical forces active in Northeast: Sarbananda Sonowal

Guwahati, July 10: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that the Islamic radical forces have spread their bases in the Northeast. He made this statement while speaking at the 67th plenary of the North Eastern Council (NEC) on Monday in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Expressing concern over security-related challenges in the region, Sonowal sought inter-state and international cooperation to overcome the security challenge. “Although the situation has improved, challenges remain,” Sonowal said.

“There is an expansion of the Islamic radical forces in the region. On the other hand, the militants find shelter in one state, operates in another and when required, cross over to the neighbouring countries. All northeastern states must come together to meet the challenges,” he told the member states.

Referring to the three-decade-old insurgency in Assam, Sonowal said, “The security scenario has improved gradually through a strategy of determined counter-insurgency operations and dialogues with the insurgents, but the threat remains.”

Sonowal also raised the issue of perennial flood in Assam and said that the problem needs to be addressed in a holistic manner.  “It is necessary to set up an effective planning and management authority which would also help in solving flood and erosion problem in Brahmaputra and Barak river basins,” he said.

The chief minister also suggested hosting a festival in the ASEAN countries to promote the Northeast.

“I suggest that the NEC may think of hosting a festival in each of the ASEAN countries to project the rich heritage, culture, handlooms, handicrafts, industrial and tourism potential of the Northeastern states,” he said.