Northeast States on High Alert Ahead of R-Day
Security personnel standing guard in Manipur
NEW DELHI: High security alert has been sounded in the north-east states following the call by at least four of the hardcore separatist groups to boycott Republic Day celebrations in the region.
The rebels have further called for a shutdown and a general strike from January 25th’s evening till the sunset on January 26.
“We are aware that they (rebels) will be making attempts to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations. Therefore, we have placed security forces on high alert to thwart the rebels from disrupting the celebrations”, Shambhu Singh, joint secretary (northeast) in the home ministry told IANS.
The boycott call was announced by the four groups through a joint statement which was e-mailed to various media organisations.
The four groups that have urged the boycott are from different states-Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya.
While United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) are from Assam, the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation and Coordination Committee (CorCom) is from Manipur.
CorCom is an umbrella organisation of major separatist outfits fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in Manipur.
The banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) of Meghalaya is also a part of the separatist groups. It has gone a step further and called for a 24-hour shutdown from 6 p.m. Jan 25 to 6 p.m. Jan 26 across the six districts of Khasi-Jaintia hills region in the eastern part of Meghalaya.
The boycott call, however, was only to be expected.
It has now almost become a norm for the separatist groups in the north-east India to boycott national events, and there has usually been violent attacks in the wake of their celebrations.
Recently, the state of Manipur was a witness to a string of bomb blasts by the groups, which were triggered apparently to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations.
Meanwhile, the government seems to be well-prepared and has deployed thousands of army, police and paramilitary personnel in the northeastern states to ensure the peaceful passage of Republic Day.