Pre-poll violence in Assam continues unabated
Pre-poll violence in Assam continued unabated on Wednesday with militants ambushing the convoy of the Election Commission’s observer in trouble-torn North Cachar Hills in Central Assam.
Bullets were fired on the vehicle of poll observer A C Singh. The vehicle was moving towards Umrangsho. Police sources said militants fired bullets at Jungum, about 20 km from Haflong.
Assam Police officials have warned people to remain vigilant during the Rongali Bihu festival beginning next week. They have discovered that explosives used in the two blasts in Maligaon and Dekhiajuli were fitted inside bicycle seats. Police have advised political parties to ensure that vehicles are not parked close to ward offices.
Police is devising a mechanism to bring parking places in major towns under scanner. Citizen committees in localities will be reactivated. About 20-30 shops in every market will be asked to engage a watchman. Retired policemen will be employed to supervise the work of those engaged in the field.
State police will lift unidentified vehicles. Garbage dumps will be thoroughly checked and proper cleaning exercises taken up with the help of the civic administration.
Assuring that elections in the state will be safe and secure, Assam police DGP GM Srivastav said, "Ulfa has become a bunch of criminals. The conduct of Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua has changed."
He added: "Loss of life and property to people is a matter of concern. We are seriously on the job; we do our best, but once in a while, the opposition gets a chance somewhere. We have sound evidence that recent bomb blasts were the handiwork of Ulfa. Over the past three months, 79 incidents of bomb blasts were prevented and 376 kg of explosives seized."
According to the police chief there were also 16 incidents involving IEDs and grenade throwing. During the period, 49 civilians and 35 militants were killed, while 307 from different outfits were arrested and 130 were forced to surrender. Of the 18 kidnapping cases, 13 persons were rescued by the police.
Mr Srivastav said that in the last two to three months, Ulfa has recruited about 43 cadres. Meanwhile, Assam governor S C Mathur termed the present situation in Assam as unsatifactory. He said he will review the present rehabilitation package for surrendered militants and will take up with the Centre and the state government for working out a decent package.