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Manipur scare alerts Assam

Guwahati, March 9: A grenade attack on the Manipur Assembly yesterday sent Assam police scurrying to review security arrangements for the budget session here.

Assam, too, was rocked by blasts in Guwahati, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh but the thought of a Manipur-like attack on the Assembly seemed to bother the police more.

Sources said police began conducting security drills in and around the Assembly complex this morning with sniffer dogs and sophisticated equipment.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi will table the budget tomorrow.

A couple of MLAs said during the debate on the governor’s address that the security was “stifling”. Some of them said it basically reflected the government’s failure to stop law and order from deteriorating.

Security was the dominant issue during the debate with the Opposition citing the blasts yesterday and in Sivasagar last week to refute Dispur’s claim that law and order was improving.

Police officials said they were too busy to bother about the claims and counter-claims in the House.

“We cannot take a chance as we don’t have any points to make in the Assembly. We have to prevent any attacks and we are taking all possible steps towards that end. These steps cannot be disclosed,” one of them said.

Preventive measures have become important because Ulfa always tries to make its presence felt in the run-up to festivals and events.

With the government launching a crackdown on Ulfa and its sympathisers, the outfit will go to any extent to prove to the government that it was alive and kicking, the police official said.

One person was killed and 33 were injured in a series of Ulfa-triggered bomb explosions that ripped apart three commercial centres in Assam yesterday.

“There is a pattern in the three blasts carried out yesterday. They took place in market areas and targeted Hindi-speaking people. If you take into account the grenade attack on an army camp in Dibrugarh district, the need for extra security is more than justified,” he said.

The police recently arrested People’s Consultative Group member Lachit Bordoloi.

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