Armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, Sanjyukta Parashar instills fear into Bodo militants as superintendent of police in Assam, India’s Sonitpur district. For the past 15 months, Parashar has led anti-Bodo militant operations, seizing weapons, reportedly having gunned down 16 militants and made 64 arrests. An Indian Police Service officer since 2006, Parashar leads her team deep into Assam’s reservation forests occupied by the Bodo militants. The terrain is rough, and “there have been instances when we encountered elephants” said one of her troops. The IPS team also regularly experiences extreme weather conditions — high humidity and heavy rainfall sometimes causing chest-high currents in rivers they cross by foot. In December 2014, the militants responded to the crackdown by targeting civilians and killing 62 people in both Sonitpur and Kokrajhar. Recently, Parashar’s team successfully pushed the Bodo militants deeper into the forest, but one of Parashar’s young officers says, “It’s difficult for us to be ahead of them. They always have information about our movements through the local population, who they threaten … If the element of surprise is not there, an operation is bound to fail.”
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