NEW DELHI, May 20 - The Centre on Monday directed the Assam government to dig deeper into the nexus between the ULFA(I) and its sleeper cells that were uncovered during the recent probe by Assam Police. A high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was attended by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and top officials including Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, State Chief Secretary Alok Kumar and Additional Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, besides senior officials of Assam Police.
The meeting was convened to mainly discuss the security measures needed to be taken during the ongoing claims and objections phase and publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 30, among other issues.
According to sources, the meeting reviewed the situation after the recent grenade blast in Guwahati by ULFA (I) and the subsequent unearthing of its sleeper cells. Assam Police has been instructed to probe deeper and unearth the entire network of sleeper cells instead of confining the probe to arresting the ULFA militants responsible for the blast.
There were indications that the probe may spread across the State to unearth the sleeper cell network. Security forces have found it astonishing that the much-feeble ULFA managed to set up a network of overground activists from different walks of life right under the nose of the security agencies.
�The Centre told us to investigate the matter till its logical conclusion and not keep the probe confined to detention of ULFA activists responsible for the blast,� said an official who was part of the meeting.
According to reports, security agencies have so far identified over 25 �urban guerrillas� from different walks of life. Some are even working in colleges and those identified so far are staying in places like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, among other urban centres.
Chief Minister Sonowal later complimented Assam Police for cracking the blast case in a short time. �The forces have managed to apprehend those who were involved. This became possible because of cooperation of the people of Guwahati. No person in Assam supports violence and they want peace and amity. The incident has been condemned by one and all. We will ensure that none of those involved in the violent incident will be spared,� he said.
Earlier, emerging from the meeting, the Chief Minister said that Monday�s meeting mainly discussed the NRC�s claims and objections exercise. �Our main target is to complete the draft NRC and the final NRC peacefully. As per the Supreme Court�s direction, the final NRC will be published on July 30.
�To ensure that the entire exercise is completed smoothly, we held a meeting with the Union Home Minister. The Central and State governments will jointly take steps to complete the exercise peacefully. We have firmed up plans to ensure that names of genuine Indian citizens are not excluded from the NRC. The government will work towards this end,� Sonowal said.
�People should not become apprehensive and I appeal to them to take part in the claims and objection process,� he said.
The Chief Minister also warned certain elements who are threatening and intimidating those people who have filed objections. �It is our responsibility to provide security to all citizens and we have taken steps to provide protection to all. But if anybody feels insecure, they can approach the authorities. They may also contact the State NRC Coordinator. We will resolve these issues.�
Sonowal, meanwhile, also hailed the exit poll results and said that the people of India want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stay in power. �We had got enough indications that Prime Minister Modi is returning to power,� he said.