ULFA-HuJI combine may strike in Assam: police

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS,

Guwahati : The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is planning to outsource terror by hiring foreign mercenaries or Islamist terrorists to carry out violent strikes in Assam ahead of Independence Day, says a top police official.

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“It may be possible that the ULFA could hire mercenaries or take the help of jehadi elements, including the HuJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami), to carry out terror strikes in Assam ahead of Aug 15,” Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, inspector general of Assam police (Law and Order), told IANS.

He said the idea to outsource terror was necessitated with local cadres of the ULFA allegedly refusing to carry out bombings in crowded places.

“We have definite reports that local ULFA cadres were not at all willing to inflict casualties on civilians and hence the ULFA leadership could use hired bombers or take the help of jehadi elements to strike at crowded places or vital installations in the state,” Mahanta said.

The official said the porous border that Assam shares with Bangladesh was a possible entry point for jehadi forces to penetrate into the state and carry out strikes.

“We have sounded a maximum alert to foil such attempts and have also asked the public to be on guard and report any such movement of suspicious people or objects to the police for necessary action.”

He said the ULFA, fighting for an independent homeland since 1979, was desperately trying to make its presence felt by carrying out some violent strikes after the outfit faced heavy reverses with two of its potent striking units declaring a unilateral ceasefire last month.

“The decision by the Alpha and Charlie companies of the 28th battalion to enter into a ceasefire was a major setback to the ULFA and hence their leadership is now at their wits’ end,” Mahanta said.

According to intelligence reports, there could be at least six to seven Islamist fundamentalist groups active in Assam with most of them having bases along the state’s 262 km border with Bangladesh.

“Most of these Islamist groups have their roots in Bangladesh and now trying to penetrate into Assam for carrying out subversive activities,” an intelligence official said.