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R-Day boycott call
Published on 21 Jan. 2010 12:44 AM IST
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A massive security alert was sounded across northeast India Wednesday after separatist rebels announced a boycott of the Republic Day celebrations Jan 26, officials said. “We have placed security forces on high alert to ensure that militants are not able to create violence ahead of the Republic Day celebrations,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said. Five frontline separatist groups in the region have called a boycott of the Republic Day and also a general strike from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day. The call has been given by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF) - comprising several major militant outfits in the state, the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and the Tripura People’s Democratic Front (TPDF). These groups are active in Assam, Manipur and Tripura. The five rebel groups announced their boycott Wednesday through a statement e-mailed to journalists. “It should not only be a general strike, but a black day for the entire oppressed people of the region. We appeal to our freedom loving people to display their solidarity against the colonial occupation of the region by India, the common enemy, by making the boycott and general strike a complete success,” the rebel statement received by IANS said. Militant groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events to protest New Delhi’s rule over the region, and have staged violent attacks in the run up to the celebrations to make their presence felt. “We are on full alert and shall see to it that we are able to foil any attempts by militants to attack,” Assam police chief Shankar Baruah said. Thousands of army, police and paramilitary troopers are standing guard in other northeastern states, particularly Manipur, where militants launched a grenade attack Tuesday near the residence of the state police chief in capital Imphal. Three people were injured in the attack. “We are not taking chances. The police across Manipur have been put on high alert and we are bent on thwarting any subversive activity by the militants,” a senior Manipur police official said. Militant groups often target vital installations like road and rail bridges, oil installations, and security forces as part of their design.

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