Alert in northeast over rebel shutdown call on R-Day

Imphal: A security alert has been sounded across four northeastern states after separatists announced a boycott of the Republic Day celebrations, officials said on Monday.

“There are intelligence inputs that rebels are making attempts to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Therefore, we have directed these states to put security forces on high alert to thwart the rebels from disrupting the celebrations,” a home ministry official told IANS.

Four separatist groups have called for a shutdown on Republic Day and also a general strike from 12 midnight to 6 p.m. on January 26.

Rebel groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national celebrations.

“We are on full alert and shall see to it that we are able to prevent any attempts by rebels to attack,” an Assam Rifles official said.

Four rebel groups announced their boycott through a joint statement e-mailed to media houses.

They are the United National Liberation Front of WESEA (UNLFW) — comprising the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Kamtapur Liberation Organisation, and the Coordination Committee (CorCom), an umbrella group of separatist outfits fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in Manipur.

The other two are Meghalaya-based outfits, the Garo National Liberation Army and the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council.

Thousands of army, police and paramilitary personnel were on standby in other northeastern states to ensure that militants are not able to indulge in violence ahead of the Republic Day celebrations.

“We have launched a massive flush-out operation to nab rebels who are planning to disrupt the 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.