Home India News Tight security in Northeast as separatists call shutdown to boycott R-Day

Tight security in Northeast as separatists call shutdown to boycott R-Day


Guwahati : Thousands of police, paramilitary and army soldiers Tuesday stood guard in the restive northeast where separatists called for shutdown to boycott the Republic Day celebrations even as three explosions rocked Manipur and as many militants gunned down in Assam, officials said.

“We are on full alert with all steps taken to ensure a violence free Republic Day,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.

A police spokesperson said three militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were killed in a gunfight with the security forces late Monday in Assam’s Sonitpur district.

“The NDFB militants were planning to strike in a big way when we got wind of their plan and challenged them resulting in the death of three rebels,” a senior police officer said.

Three blasts rocked Manipur in a space of just 20 minutes late Monday – two explosions in capital Imphal close to a police commando housing complex and another at Nambol town in Bishenpur district, 20 km off the capital city.

Four people, two police commandos and two civilians, were injured in the three blasts.

In Assam, police late Monday seized a 10 kg bomb packed in a sack from a passenger bus in Dhubri district, 310 km west of the state’s main city of Guwahati.

In another raid, a bomb concealed in a polythene bag was recovered from a roadside in the eastern town of Moran.

Meanwhile, a massive security alert was sounded across Assam and other northeastern states with police, paramilitary and army soldiers deployed in vulnerable areas like oil installations, road and rail bridges, besides crowded market places.

The intelligence reports come at a time when five separatist guerrilla groups in the northeast called a 17-hour general strike to boycott Republic Day.

The militant groups that called for a boycott of the Republic Day celebrations include the outlawed ULFA, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), fighting for a separate homeland comprising parts of Assam and West Bengal, the Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF), an umbrella group of several Manipuri rebel groups, and the Tripura People’s Democratic Front (TPDF).

These groups are active in Assam, Manipur and Tripura.

As part of the boycott call Jan 26, the militant groups have called for a general strike from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“There has been a partial impact of the shutdown so far,” police officers in Assam, Manipur and Tripura said.

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