GUWAHATI: Wary of possible attacks by the insurgents and jihadi elements in the run-up to Independence Day, Assam government on Wednesday sounded a high alert across the state. “We have threats from the homegrown rebel groups and also jihadi elements. So, we have asked the agencies concerned to heighten security across the state,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters after a security review meeting here.
State police chief Khagen Sarma said there was a strong possibility that the rebels might use bicycles to trigger explosions. “There have been four bicycle blasts in the past. So, they might use the same tactic. However, we are keeping a close vigil on all modes of transport,” he said. According to him, Paresh Baruah faction of United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) and the anti-talks faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were making attempts to carry out subversive activities but “our efforts to thwart them are also on”. The DGP disclosed that evidence of the presence of terror outfits like the LeT and Jamat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh had been found in the state in recent times.
Additional Director General of Police, Pallab Bhattacharya, said the rebels had taken up August 15 as a “priority” this time around.
“They have set their sights on the vital installations since any sabotage there gives them instant publicity. Given their past attempts, we feel the State Secretariat and the Assembly building are vulnerable,” he said.
City Police Commissioner (CP) Mukesh Agarwal urged people to be wary of abandoned bicycles. “There is a possibility that they (rebels) might trigger blasts by strapping bombs to bicycles. We urge people to inform us if they notice any suspicious objects on bicycles,” he said. Every year, the rebel groups in the NorthEast call a general strike on August 15 and urge people to boycott the celebrations.