ULFA planning R-Day blasts, say police; ask people to help

January 23rd, 2009 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

DebojitGuwahati, Jan 23 (IANS) A maximum security alert has been sounded in Assam following reports that militants were planning explosions in crowded marketplaces ahead of Republic Day and police have asked people to help them fight terror. “We have information about some ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) militants entering Guwahati city and planning to stage bomb blasts in crowded markets using timer devices,” additional police chief of Guwahati city Debojit Deuri said.

“They would try to first plant the bombs in crowded areas and then set it off using timers after one or two hours. This is what the ULFA is planning to do,” Deuri told journalists.

The police official said the ULFA bombers could probably be taking shelter in some city hotels, or rented accommodations, and even staying as guests in houses of friends or relatives.

“A massive security operation has been launched and all efforts were on to prevent any untoward incidents ahead of Jan 26,” Deuri said.

The Guwahati city police, meanwhile, has sent out a formal appeal asking locals to immediately contact the police control room in case they come across any suspicious objects or suspicious movement of individuals.

“We need the support of the people to fight terror,” the official said.

The ULFA, an outlawed rebel group fighting for an independent homeland since 1979, has called for a boycott of Monday’s Republic Day celebrations. There are also reports of ULFA cadres trying to stage attacks in eastern Assam districts of Sivasagar, Tinsukia, and Dibrugarh.

“We have reports of ULFA trying to stage violent strikes. We are on alert,” said Diganta Bora, police chief of Tinsukia district.

Security forces in the past two weeks killed seven ULFA militants in separate incidents. Militant groups in the insurgency-hit northeastern states of Assam, Tripura and Manipur have for years boycotted national events to protest New Delhi’s rule over the oil and timber-rich region.

There are some 30 rebel groups operating in the region with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy and the right to self-determination. More than 50,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the northeast since India’s independence in 1947.

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