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3 ULFA rebels, cop killed in Assam gunfight
Published on 16 Mar. 2011 2:59 AM IST
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Three bombers of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and a policeman were killed in a gunfight Tuesday in Assam, a day after the outfit triggered a powerful explosion at the ruling Congress headquarters, injuring five party workers.
A police spokesperson said the gun battle took place at Tongna village in the eastern district of Tinsukia, about 550 km from Assam’s main city of Guwahati.
“Based on specific inputs about the presence of a group of ULFA militants in the area, a police team raided the village and a fierce gun battle took place,” a police officer said.
Some seven to eight heavily armed ULFA rebels were hiding inside a village house when the police began a combing operation.
In retaliatory attacks, three ULFA militants were gunned down and hunt was on to track down the remaining rebels who fled after being outnumbered by the security forces. The gunfight lasted for close to two hours.
There was yet another attack Monday night in the western Kokrajhar district with tribal separatists of the anti-talk faction of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) killing nine Border Security Force troopers and injuring four. The ULFA and the NDFB in separate statements claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Meanwhile, high alert was sounded Tuesday with the state bound for elections April 4-11 to elect a 126-member legislature.
Army and paramilitary columns have already started a massive anti-insurgency operation in militant-affected areas in Assam, even as there were intelligence reports of more rebel strikes in the run up to the assembly elections in Assam.
The anti-talks faction of the ULFA last month in an e-mailed statement threatened to attack Congress leaders and warned people against participating in party rallies in the run up to the assembly elections. Gogoi said the Congress would never be cowed down by threats by ULFA hardliners.
The ULFA is fighting for an independent homeland outside the Indian union.
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives due to insurgency in Assam during the past two decades.
Violence intended to sow fear in people’s mind: HM
The Centre today said that the two violent incidents that rocked Assam were intended to “sow fear in the minds of the people” in view of the upcoming polls in the state. “The incidents of yesterday were also intended to sow fear in the minds of the people that the process of elections would be disturbed.
Both the central government and the government of Assam are determined to thwart the designs of these disgruntled factions and ensure that the election process is peaceful,” the Home Ministry said in a statement here today.
“These two incidents are desperate attempts by the disgruntled factions of certain groups to wreck the peace process. Thanks to patient and painstaking efforts taken over the last two years, there is an expectation among the people of Assam that peace is returning to that State. The incidents of violence had declined considerably in 2010 as well as in the first two months of 2011.
These two incidents indicate a deliberate effort to undermine the ongoing peace process. The people of Assam have welcomed the offer of a number of groups to hold talks with the government, the statement said. The interlocutor appointed by the central government is holding talks and there has been satisfactory progress, it added.
Condemning both the violent acts-- an IED blast triggered by ULFA at the state Congress headquarters in which five party office bearers were injured and killing of eight BSF men by the anti-talk faction of the NDFB-- the ministry said inquiries into the incidents are in progress. “The central government condemns the violence that consumed the lives of eight BSF jawans and caused injuries to four political leaders as well as 10 BSF jawans. The government of Assam is confident that it will be able to apprehend the culprits responsible for these incidents,” the statement said.
BJP condemns blast
Condemning the bomb blast at the Congress headquarters Rajiv Bhavan on Monday, the BJP Assam unit Tuesday alleged that the “failure of the state government to maintain law and order” had led to the incident.
“Total failure of the Assam government to maintain law and order led to the blast. The incident has proved the inefficiency of the home minister (chief minister holds the portfolio)”, BJP spokesman Vijay Kumar Gupta told reporters here on Tuesday.
“Moreover, the incident has given rise to a fear psychosis among the people and doubt about the assembly elections being free and fair”, Gupta claimed.
The BJP demanded that the Election Commission ensure a violence-free election atmosphere for the April 4 and 11 hustings in view of the “total failure of the government”. “The ULFA has shown they are still alive with strength, power and preparedness. This they have done by cracking the nose of the ruling party’s head office”, Gupta asserted.
“The government should take the help of the Centre by adding more paramilitary forces and improving the intelligence cell”.Accusing Gogoi of back-tracking from his promise to the people about persons with criminal charges not being given tickets to contest the polls, the BJP spokesman said the names of ten persons with criminal charges were included in the Congress list of candidates.

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