IMPHAL, Jan 25 - Security measures in the North-east were beefed up at an unprecedented scale in the backdrop of boycott calls and call for strikes by armed outlawed organisations on Republic Day. The armed outfits are imposing a total shutdown to sabotage the official functions on Friday.
Officials are also taken aback as a Kuki outfit, the Kuki National Front (Nehlun), a signatory to the suspension of operations with the Indian government, is boycotting the function and imposing strike in the hills.
A statement issued by this outfit said that the shutdown is to demand for a "Kukiland". Almost all the armed groups in the northeast have called for boycott and general strike from Thursday midnight which will remain effective till Friday evening.
However, the governments in the North-east region have given final touch to celebrate the Republic Day. There have been bomb blasts and plantings of remote controlled hand grenades in some parts of Manipur to send the message that the boycott call is not an empty threat.
The police and Assam Rifles sources said that patrollings have been intensified. During such foot patrollings some powerful bombs had been detected in the valley and hill districts. Sniffer dogs are also pressed into service to detect buried bombs. Police say that the underground organisations in the region have joined hands in boycotting the Republic Day. The police has been raiding several residential areas. A ranking police officer said that no insurgent has been arrested in these widespread combing operations.
For a long time now, national functions had been reduced to a lacklustre official function. One senior minister said that despite the boycott calls over 60 contingents representing schools, colleges, cultural organisations, women's groups, state and central forces will take part in the march past in Imphal.
Police pickets have been deployed in all trouble prone areas and youths in two wheelers and cars are being frisked and their identity established.
L.M Khaute, Director General of Police said that all available forces are being used in maintaining law and order.
The elite strike forces are kept on round the clock duty. All district police superintendents are personally supervising the security arrangements ahead of the Republic Day. Several people said that despite the hectic police efforts they are still apprehensive and many would prefer to stay indoors.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up across Mizoram in view of the 69th Republic Day tomorrow. Inspector General of Police Zorammawia said security was tightened in the Assam Rifles ground here where the main function would be held, and other district headquarters and sub-divisional towns.
Governor Lt Gen Nirbhay Sharma would unfurl the national flag from the Assam Rifles ground.
"Police personnel with fully equipped bomb disposal squad would spend the inside the Assam Rifles ground tonight," Zorammawia said.
Security arrangements have been made in Nagaland for peaceful celebration of Republic Day in the state, a top police officer said today. - Agencies