Northeastern states on high alert for I-Day

Agartala/Guwahati/Imphal, Aug 14:

A massive security alert has been sounded across northeast India and vigil along the international borders tightened ahead of the 69th Independence Day celebrations, officials said on Friday.


“We have seen media reports that some militant outfits jointly made statements to boycott the Independence Day celebrations and observe bandh. But there is no concrete evidences on the issue,” Tripura Inspector General of Police (police control) Nepal Das told IANS.

“However, we have fortified the security all over specially the sensitive places and crowded locations, including markets and places where the Independence Day functions would be held.”

The official said some temporary check-posts and security posts have been also set up to monitor the situations and check the vehicles.

“All police stations and BSF (Border Security Force) have been asked to maintain high alert and to keep strict surveillance over the situations,” Das added.

The police official said though terrorism came down significantly in Tripura, patrolling along the national highway, other important highways and interior places were being intensified as a preventive measure.

In Assam, a strict security blanket has been raised following intelligence report that militants and jehadi groups are desperate to carry out attacks ahead of the Independence Day.

Additional director general of police Pallab Bhattacharya told reporters in Guwahati that recently a terrorist of Lashkar-e-Taiba has been spotted at Rangia in Kamrup district.

Quoting central agencies’ report, he said that following the meeting of radical outfits in Bangladesh recently, a group of terrorists have planned to sneak into the region.

Night curfew has already been clamped along the India-Bangladesh border to prevent the cross-border movement of militants in the run-up to Independence Day.

Bhattacharya said: “ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) too is desperate to carry out subversive activity.”

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and state police chief Khagen Sarma also separately said terrorists groups were trying to create problems but forces were alert to spoil it.

The porous land and riverine border that Assam shares with Bangladesh has been witnessing persistent influx of militants and criminals.

Intelligence agencies have reported that infiltrators cross the border in the appearance of fishermen. The administration also banned fishing in the few bordering rivers of the state.

In Manipur, state police and various other para-military forces taking up tight security measures in four valley districts of Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal and Bishnupur to prevent any untoward incident in view of the Independence Day celebration boycott called by insurgent outfits of the state.

The main function of the celebration will be held at the First Manipur Rifles Parade Ground in Imphal where state Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh will unfurl the national flag.

Security forces have been put on a high alert in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram to thwart any attempt of violence during the Independence Day celebrations.

A senior Mizoram home department official said the union home ministry has sent urgent advisories to keep maximum alert on the run up to the Independence Day celebrations.

An official of the Airport Authority of India said on the advice of the union home and civil aviation ministries security was also further intensified in all the airports in the northeastern states.

“Various restrictions including entry of people into the terminal buildings of the airports have been enforced and these restrictions would continue till August 20. Dog squads of the security forces have been engaged to detect possible explosive, fiery and harmful substances,” the official said.

BSF spokesman D.S. Bhati told IANS: “Our jawans led by senior officials maintaining a strict vigil along the frontiers. They are ready to take any action immediately if any one tries to cross over the border or upset the peace.”

“Additional troopers of the BSF have been deployed on the occasion of the Independence Day,” he added.

The northeastern states share 5,437 km international boundaries with China (1,300 km), Myanmar (1,643 km), Bhutan (516 km), Bangladesh (1,880 km) and Nepal (98 km).

The mountainous terrain, dense forests and other hindrances make the mostly unfenced borders porous and vulnerable, enabling, militants, illegal immigrants and intruders cross over without any major hurdles. (IANS)

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