GUWAHATI, Jan 23 - Though militancy is on the wane in Assam, police and security forces are not taking any chances, as intelligence inputs indicate that the active militant groups are desperate to make their presence felt in the run-up to the Republic Day celebrations.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that a few senior members of the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) have managed to cross over to Bhutan by taking advantage of the porous international border.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that militants belonging to the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) are desperate to create an impact before the Republic Day. The possibility of the outfit taking help of the other constituents of the newly created platform of the militant groups cannot be ruled out.
Sources said that according to indications, the ULFA(I) would try to hit soft targets, particularly in upper Assam districts, as it would be easier for the members of the outfit to sneak into those areas through Nagaland with the help of members of the NSCN(K).
Sources said that according to indications available, the ULFA(I) may try to trigger IED explosions and may even target Hindi-speaking people in the interior places. Police and security forces are on their toes to foil any such attempt by the militants, but at the same time, sources admitted that it is not possible to guard every inch of the land and the militants may try to trigger blasts in interior places.
For quite some time, the ULFA(I) has not been able to make any impact and the flow of funds has also dried up. That is why, the outfit is desperate to show its strength by indulging in acts of violence, sources added.
Apart from upper Assam, another vulnerable place is Goalpara, as the ULFA(I) is maintaining some bases in the Garo Hills adjoining the districts with the help of the GNLA, and it is indicated that a small group headed by a hardcore militant, Harinath Rabha, managed to sneak into Assam.
Sources said that Guwahati is always the prime target of the militants, more so this time because of the ensuing South East Asian Games. However, the police and security forces are making all efforts to foil any such attempt.
On the NDFB(S), sources said that the outfit is also desperate to hit back after receiving serious setbacks in the counter-insurgency operations in the past one year. The Government has also rejected the feelers sent by the outfit for a ceasefire. But sources said that the outfit has very little strength left to cause any major damage and a group of senior leaders managed to sneak into Bhutan. According to information available with the security forces, the militants managed to go about two kilometres inside Bhutan and the Government of India has already taken up the issue with the government of the neighbouring country.
Security sources said that there is no input of any radical insurgent outfit making any plan to create trouble on the eve of the Republic Day. But a close watch on the situation is being maintained, they said.