| A policeman keeps vigil ahead of Independence Day in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos |
Aug. 10: Security has been beefed up across Assam following the customary Independence Day boycott call made by 12 rebel groups in the Northeast today.
Inspector-general of police (law and order) S.N. Singh told The Telegraph that vigilance over vital installations had been heightened and “spotters” deployed to prevent untoward incidents and smooth conduct of the celebrations. “All necessary security measures are being taken to ensure that nothing untoward takes place,” Singh said.
A joint statement issued by 12 militant groups called a general strike between 1am and 5.30pm on August 15 to protest against “Indian colonial occupation and military repression” of the region.
Essential services, including emergency measures, media and religious activities, have, however, been exempted from the purview of the strike.
The 12 groups include Ulfa (Independent), National Democratic Front of Boroland and Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (Assam), Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (Meghalaya), National Liberation Front of Tripura (Tripura) and the co-ordination committee of six Manipur-based rebel groups — Kangleipak Communist Party, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, Revolutionary People’s Front, United National Liberation Front and United People’s Party of Kangleipak.
Security in Guwahati, where chief minister Tarun Gogoi will hoist the national flag at the central function of the 76th Independence Day, has been intensified, with both police and CRPF personnel being deployed in markets, on flyovers, at the railway station, bus stands and other installations. Pillion riding was prohibited in the city since suspected Ulfa (Independent) militants carried out a grenade attack in Paltan Bazar on July 28, killing one person and injuring 14.
Police sources said though the main focus was on Ulfa (Independent) and the Songbijit faction of NDFB, district police across the state had been alerted against small and splinter rebel groups. “These small groups might carry out attacks taking advantage of the boycott call given by known groups like Ulfa and NDFB,” a source said.
A security alert has also been sounded in Dima Hasao district following intelligence reports about possible subversive strikes by the anti-peace insurgent groups like DHD (action) and both factions of NSCN (I-M) and NSCN (K) in the run up to Independence Day celebrations there.
Security in Dhubri district has also been tightened along the India-Bangladesh border and the boundaries with Bengal and Meghalaya boundaries, against possible subversive activities by the militant groups, particularly Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.
Dhubri superintendent of police Mridulananda Sarma said there was potent security threat from KLO as its cadres were active in north Bengal and lower Assam.