New Delhi/Guwahati, Dec. 24: The Intelligence Bureau and Delhi police are making an assessment of the “threat” to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi from militant outfits, especially the outlawed National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).
The exercise began after the deputy commissioner of Delhi police, T.N. Mohan, wrote to the joint secretary in charge of security in the Union home ministry, citing warnings by Assam police about possible attempts on Gogoi’s life in New Delhi.
The “urgent” note, received by the Union home ministry a few weeks ago, said: “The director-general of Assam police has intimated us, quoting reliable intelligence received from the army, that the NDFB plans to attack Tarun Gogoi in Delhi.”
Mohan called for an “assessment” of the threat to Gogoi and requested that the Intelligence Bureau be asked to forward a report, “with necessary advice”, to the Delhi police headquarters at the earliest.
The chief minister admitted to being “aware of the threat”, but made light of it. “I was informed by the home commissioner (B.K. Gohain) about the threat. He said Bodo militants could be making some plans in Delhi. However, adequate security arrangements have been made by the agencies concerned. In any case, I am used to living under threat,” he told The Telegraph.
Assam DGP Hare Krishna Deka, however, declined comment. “Security-related matters are not meant for discussion,” he said.
Gogoi is a frequent visitor to New Delhi — for official work or party meetings — and alternates between Assam Bhavan and his official residence, which had been allotted to him when he was a Lok Sabha member.
The deputy commissioner of Delhi police “inspected” the chief minister’s residence in the capital and took stock of the security arrangements after receiving the report from Assam police.
A source said military intelligence recently learnt of the NDFB’s plan to assassinate the chief minister and “immediately passed the information to the police top brass”.
Home ministry sources indicated that Gogoi’s security cover could be upgraded to the Z-plus category. If that is done, NSG commandos will guard him round the clock. At present, former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta is the only political leader from Assam to have Black Cats as bodyguards.
A member of the police team that makes security arrangements for Gogoi said the chief minister was more vulnerable to attacks in New Delhi than in his home state.
“Unlike in Assam, his convoy has to stop at traffic red lights in the capital, which is cause for concern. A stationary target is more vulnerable to militant attacks.”
Another police official said the NDFB was feeling increasingly isolated in view of the progress of tripartite talks involving the rival Bodoland Liberation Tigers, the Centre and the Assam government.
“If the Bodoland Territorial Council is formed, which the mainstream Bodo organisations want, the NDFB’s struggle will lose its relevance. The outfit is now desperate to stall the peace process.”
With New Delhi having a huge population from the Northeast, officials believe it won’t be difficult for militants to sneak into the capital, mingle with the people and plan an attack. More worrying are the loopholes in security at some of the places Gogoi visits regularly.
There have been several instances of burglary at Assam Bhavan. A former Speaker, an IAS officer and a couple of ministers are among those who have reported theft of personal belongings from their rooms. On one occasion, somebody stole a security officer’s service revolver.