Ulfa threatens to disrupt Modi's Assam visit

Ulfa threatens to disrupt Modi's Assam visit

The United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) has threatened to jeopardise the high-profile visit of  Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the North-East and the Assam Police are under pressure to provide adequate security.

Modi will reach Guwahati on November 29, a day Ulfa has been observing as ‘Black Day’ ever since it was banned in 1990.

With the Ulfa threat looming large over the prime minister’s visit and the DGP/IGP Conference, which is being held outside Delhi for the first time, it has become a high security affair. While Modi arrives on Saturday and leaves for Imphal on Sunday after attending a series of events at Guwahati, the administrative machinery in Assam is in no mood to take any chances.

“We’ve tightened security for the VVIP visit like never before, especially because it coincides with Ulfa’s protest day,” Additional DGP (Special Branch) of Assam Police, Pallab Bhattacharya, told reporters in Guwahati.

Even though senior police officers in Assam claim that the militant outfit has lost much of its strength over the years, security agencies are not willing to take a chance, particularly after the Ulfa announced a deadline of 45 days on November 27, demanding to know the whereabouts of its 26 members, who have been missing since 2003 during a military operation in Bhutan. The demand came in the form of an email to a national news agency from its self-styled commander Paresh Baruah, currently holed up in Myanmar. He stated that the information should be provided by January 10, 2015.

The Ulfa chief wrote, “On the eve of his (Modi’s) visit we demand information about our missing cadres.”

He also threatened that if the whereabouts of his missing comrades are not announced by January 10, the outfit will launch an armed resistance targeting the BJP’s poll activities in Assam. This threat comes in the light of the fact that the BJP–led NDA government was in power in 2003 when the operation took place. Calling it a routine threat, Assam’s Director General of Police, Khagen Sarma told reporters that the ruling party continues to receive such threats.

“The ruling establishment is always an enemy of militants. Baruah has his own interests. His statements are issued with purpose,” he said. Sarma added that the Ulfa’s striking capacity is also “much lesser than earlier” and “capability is minimum”. “Militants try for hard selective targets and if they fail then they go for soft targets. We’ve graduated to coping with such challenges. We’re giving emphasis on increasing our area domination,” he said.

Sarma, who said that the Ulfa has been unable to re-establish camps in Bhutan after the 2003 operation, admitted that the outfit is trying to revive its bases at Mymensingh and Chittagong in Bangladesh.
DH News Service

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