Manning the 395-km-long Manipur-Myanmar border, Assam Rifles has staunched infiltration of extremists from across the international border to a large extent. The troopers at Moreh and Khudengthabi along National Highway 39 have been intercepting several Myanmarese nationals who sneak into Manipur on their way to other States.
The erection of 10-km fencing at Moreh has further strengthened the hands of Assam Rifles. There are reports of arrests and killings of extremists who sneaked into Manipur territory. All underground organisations operating in the northeast have their well-entrenched camps in the ‘no man's land'.
That their ranking leaders are bivouacking in these camps became clear when nearly 200 of them were arrested in raids shortly after the 9/11 terror attack in New York.
Taking advantage of the legalisation on border trade which was legalised on January 22, 1994, many extremists, recruits and child soldiers began crossing the international border freely. To counteract the menace, the Border Security Force — formerly deployed in the region — was replaced with Assam Rifles, which is trained in counter-insurgency operations.
The troopers have regularly recovered guns, explosives and incriminating documents from arrested or slain extremists. Occasionally, smugglers carrying narcotic drugs, firearms, hand grenades and animal body parts used in China to manufacture expensive aphrodisiacs have also been nabbed.
Meanwhile, the detour from Manipur to Bangladesh via Tripura is no longer safe for the extremists, thanks to the State and Central forces sharing intelligence inputs. Moreover, a section of villagers in Tripura has turned hostile to them. Some alleged extremists returning from Bangladesh have even been lynched.
Once the Army intercepted a large number of extremists returning from Bangladesh with weapons via Mizoram. In a running gun battle, many of the extremists were killed.