Assam on high alert after Punjab attack

Guwahati, July 27 (IANS) The Assam government sounded a high alert on Monday to thwart any attack by anti-national forces, on a day terrorists killed seven people in Punjab.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said anti-national forces were always trying to disrupt peace in the state but the government was on alert to foil any such attempt.

“Various jihadi militant groups are operating in the state. There are militant outfits like ULFA-Independent, National Democratic Front of Boroland and other home grown terror groups. These militants will try to create disturbance in the state. So, we have sounded red alert following the attack in Punjab and the impending hanging of Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon,” Gogoi said.

Gogoi also did not rule out the presence of Islamic State sympathisers in the state.

“Intelligence agencies have been saying about presence of jihadi sleeper cells in the state. However, despite the presence of jihadi elements, they are yet to emerge as a potent threat,” he said.

The northeast region has been witnessing a rise in violence in recent times, particularly after the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) abrogated the ceasefire in March, and attacked an Indian Army convoy in Chandel district of Manipur on June 4, killing 18 soldiers.

The anti-talks faction of ULFA recently killed two Hindi-speaking people in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Intelligence agencies have warned of militant groups trying to trigger violence in the run-up to Independence Day on August 15.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his recent visit to the state, discussed with the chief ministers the issue of jihadi militancy in the region.

Assam Police had last year arrested six Jamat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh linkmen from Barpeta district in connection with a blast in West Bengal’s Burdwan.

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