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Delhi eye on Ulfa border camps

New Delhi/Guwahati, Aug. 8: Four new Ulfa training camps have reportedly been sighted on the Indo-Bhutan border in Nalbari district but Delhi is “withholding” information on the location of these hideouts from the Bhutanese government to keep the possibility of talks with the outfit alive.

Intelligence reports have indicated that the camps are close to Samdrup Jhonkar in Bhutan, which was purged of militants groups from the Northeast during a long military operation from December 2003. However, instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office to do everything to bring the Ulfa leadership on board for talks have forced the Union home ministry to keep mum, a source said.

Union home secretary V.K. Duggal today said Delhi was “upset” over the spurt in Ulfa-orchestrated violence in Assam but was hopeful of starting a direct dialogue at the earliest. Asked why the deadlock had not been broken yet, he said: “No dialogue is absolutely smooth.”

In Guwahati, Northeast Frontier Railway said all stations had been put on the “highest level of alert” with militants likely to target the rail network in the run-up to Independence Day. Additional director-general of police (special branch) S.B. Kakoty presided over two security-review meetings in Upper Assam to stem the terror run.

A source said the “threat perception” could be gauged from the security arrangements even at small railway stations. The army and paramilitary forces have been helping the police sanitise rail tracks criss-crossing through militant-infested areas.

Based on statistics of attacks on trains and rail infrastructure, security arrangements in North Cachar Hills district have been given “top priority”. The source said “jihadi elements” might try to exploit the situation if the government remained focused on Ulfa. “They could try to fish in already troubled waters. The serial train blasts in Mumbai proved that jihadi groups can go to extremes.”

Control rooms have been set up to monitor movement of people in railway stations and all trains will be secured by “security caravans” in the form of trolleys or goods trains manned by railway security personnel. They will move ahead of the trains to ensure that explosives that might have been planted on tracks are detected before they explode.

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