Northeast steps up security for I-Day

August 14th, 2011 - 3:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Aug 14 (IANS) More than 100,000 police, army and paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the country’s northeastern region to foil attempts by separatists to disrupt Independence Day celebrations Monday, officers said Sunday.

“We have put our forces in various vulnerable areas to ensure that rebels cannot stage violent attacks,” an army commander said.

Twelve guerrilla groups have called a 17-hour general strike Monday in the northeast to boycott Independence Day celebrations. The general strike begins from Sunday midnight.

“We have deployed security forces at all vital installations like road bridges, oil facilities, railway tracks and bridges,” Assam Inspector General of Police G.P. Singh said.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has cancelled all night trains through Assam from Saturday evening until Aug 17.

“We have decided to cancel several long-distance trains running in Assam at night and suspend or terminate 26 more,” NFR spokesperson S. Hajong told IANS.

The major militant groups that called for a boycott of the Independence Day celebrations include the United Liberation Front of Asom, the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation, the Tripura People’s Democratic Front, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak of Manipur, and the Hynnitrep National Liberation Front of Meghalaya.

These groups are active in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Militant groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events to protest New Delhi’s rule over the region.

The run-up to the events has always been violent, with rebels striking vital installations like crude oil pipelines, trains, roads and rail bridges besides targeting security personnel.

Several attempts to blow up trains and bridges have been thwarted by security forces in Assam with at least six powerful bombs detected during separate raids in the past week.

There are more than 30-odd rebel groups active in the northeast with demands ranging from independence to autonomy.

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