We are probing rebels’ angle in anti-Citizenship Bill protests: Assam’s top cop

The ULFA-I angle came to the fore following minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s claim that the outfit has a “direct role” in the anti-Bill protests.

Published: 02nd February 2019 06:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2019 06:34 PM   |  A+A-

Himanta Biswa Sarma (File | PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Assam Police are probing the possible involvement of Paresh Baruah faction of banned insurgent group United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) in the ongoing protests in the state against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The ULFA-I angle came to the fore following minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s claim that the outfit has a “direct role” in the anti-Bill protests.

Director General of Police, Kuladhar Saikia, told reporters at a press conference on Saturday that the police were looking into the matter. 

“We do not have any specific inputs as of now (as regards the ULFA-I’s role). We are looking into it,” he said, adding “So far, eight cases have been registered at some places in connection with the recent sporadic incidents of violence during the protests against the Bill and some people arrested. Only after investigation, we will be able to tell you whether or not the rebels were involved in the protests”. 

He also said that the police were ready to handle any situation.

Two days ago, the minister had said: “Who calls up people of Upper Assam to take out protest rallies? The government knows these phone calls are made from abroad. The ULFA-I has a direct role somewhere in the protests”.

The outfit, which is believed to be left with cadre strength of around 200, operates out of the jungles of Myanmar where its “commander-in-chief” Paresh Baruah is holed up.

Chief Secretary Alok Kumar said the prevailing law and order situation in the state was “challenging” but under control.

“People have the right to stage protests but taking off clothes in doing that is not the right way,” he said. Naked protests against the Bill had been staged in at least two places in the past fortnight. 

Through the Bill’s passage, the Centre seeks to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six persecuted non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated till December 31, 2014.

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