Assam on bicycle bomb alert

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Aug 12: Security agencies in the State have been put on maximum alert following inputs suggesting that militants, particularly those belonging to the Ulfa(I), may use petty crimils or linkmen to explode bombs concealed in bicycles ahead of Independence Day.

"Intelligence inputs indicate that militant outfits, particularly the anti-talk faction of ULFA, is likely to plant IEDs in bicycles for causing explosion," a WT message circulated by the Assam Police headquarters to all police stations said.

"They are likely to outsource (the work to) petty crimils," it added.

"There have been instances of using cycles and vehicles to plant IEDs in busy areas in the past too," Director General of Police Khagen Sarma said.

He said that besides the anti-talk faction of Ulfa and the tiol Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), there were reports of Islamists also trying to carry out disruptive activities ahead of August 15.

"We have observed movements of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamaat-ul Mujahiddin ultras besides Ulfa and NDFB. Though the Islamic groups have not indulged in any sabotage in the State so far, there are some boys from the State who had received training under them," Sarma said.

ADGP (special branch) Pallab Bhattacharyya said the threat has been there since quite some time. "There was an input from central agencies that some ISI-backed groups organized a meeting in Bangladesh recently following which cadres were pushed inside India. This coupled with sightings of a man - who had reportedly joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba - in Assam after a gap of about ten/ fifteen years have raised apprehensions of a possible attack," the police official said, asking people to be alert.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who chaired a security review meeting today, said the police machinery has been asked to be alert even after Independence Day. "Due to the beefed-up security, the militants may opt to strike a day or two after Independence Day," he said.

Guwahati DCP (traffic) Prabjyoti Goswami said all the vehicles entering Guwahati are being frisked. "A 24*7 vigil is being maintained at the entry points of the city," he said.

A man hunt has been also launched in hotels, guest houses and other possible places of hide-outs.

Like every year, militant groups in Assam have called for a boycott of the Independence Day celebrations and a general strike that day.

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