Imphal, Aug 11 (IANS) A massive security alert has been sounded in four northeastern states after separatist rebels announced a boycott of Independence Day celebrations on August 15, a home ministry official said on Tuesday.
“We are aware that they (rebels) will be making attempts to disrupt Independence Day celebrations in Manipur, Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Therefore, we have placed security forces on high alert to thwart the rebels,” the official said.
Four frontline separatist groups in the region have called for a boycott of Independence Day and also a general strike from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 15.
Rebel groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events and staged violent attacks in the run-up to the celebrations.
“We are on full alert and shall see to it that we are able to foil any attempts by rebels to attack,” an Assam Rifles official said.
The four rebel groups announced their boycott through a joint statement e-mailed to several media houses.
The call has been given by the United National Liberation Front of WESEA (UNLFW) — a front comprising the Myanmar-based National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and Coordination Committee (CorCom) [an umbrella organisation of major separatist outfits fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in Manipur].
Thousands of army, police and paramilitary troopers were on standby in other northeastern states to ensure that militants are not able to indulge in violence ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, particularly in Manipur.
“Flushing out operations are on to nab the rebels who are attempting to disrupt Independence Day celebrations. Police across Manipur have been put on high alert and we are determined to thwart any subversive activity by the militants,” Manipur’s Inspector General of Police Clay Khongsai told IANS.
Rebel groups often target vital infrastructure like road and rail bridges, oil installations and security forces.