M A I N   N E W S

Day Two: ULFA guns down 26
Rajdhani targeted 

PM meets Kalam

In the backdrop of stepped up violence in Assam by ULFA militants, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today met President A P J Abdul Kalam. The 25-minute meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan was described as “part of regular interaction between the two leaders”. 

Guwahati, January 6
Armed operations against ULFA intensified in Assam and a red alert was sounded across the state in the wake of its violent attacks by the militant group on non-Assamese people in Assam since last evening, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said today.

ULFA militants today shot dead 26 people and injured five others in three separate attacks in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts, a day after gunning down 17 people in the same areas of Assam.

In another incident, a militant group patronised by the ULFA set off a bomb on the tracks damaging the air-conditioning unit and the water tank of a three tier coach of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express from New Delhi. There was no casualty in the explosion.

“A red alert has been sounded throughout the state. I have instructed that all strong and effective steps be taken to maintain peace, law and order in the state,” Gogoi told reporters here.

“We have already sent signal message to all concerned, including security forces, to take strong measures against the ULFA militants. The security operations have already begun,” Gogoi said.

“There is no question of going soft (in view of the ongoing peace process with ULFA) and hard measures will be taken to stem militancy,” he said.

“I have also asked all district administrations to draw up action plans for providing security to the non-Assamese people living in Assam,” the Chief Minister said.

“I strongly condemn the brutal killing of poor and innocent people. Such senseless killing is an act of cowardice and not of heroism. It will retard the economic progress of the state and lower the prestige and image of Assam which has always boasted of its rich cultural heritage and amity among all sections of people”, Gogoi pointed out.

“I will visit the affected areas within a day or two. Two of my ministers Pradyut Bordoloi and Prithivi Majhi are already there,” the Chief Minister said.

“There is no doubt that it (violence) is the handiwork of the ULFA”, he asserted.

Earlier in the day, heavily-armed ULFA militants descended on Ghuramora village in Tinsukia district in the wee hours and shot dead 16 milkmen, mostly from Bihar. Another four were killed and five injured at Charaipung forest village in the district.

Six other milkmen were gunned down in neighbouring Dibrugarh district, official sources said.

The area in Dibrugarh where the mask-wearing ULFA cadre struck, has a population of over 4000 non-Assamese milkmen who supply milk to hotels in Dibrugarh town, the sources said.

The Assam government sounded a statewide red alert after the massacre.

Militants of the outfit on Friday gunned down 17 people and injured 11 in a series of attacks in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts.

The victims were mostly brick kiln workers and Hindi-speaking persons.

A group patronised by the ULFA triggered a blast on the tracks on a concrete bridge over Dharani river in Karbi Anglong district of central Assam seconds after the Rajdhani Express had passed, North-east Frontier Railway sources said. There was no casualty in the blast, they said.

The blast occurred between Diphu and Doldolni in the Lumding division of NF Railway at 12.50 am. About 1.5 metre of the track was damaged.

The driver brought the train to a halt after feeling a jerk subsequent to the blast.

The AC undergear (machine) and the water tank of a three- tier AC coach were damaged, the sources said.

The train later continued its journey. Other trains were stopped at Dimapur, Diphu, Lumding and other stations, the sources said. Police rushed to the spot and repair of the tracks began at 4 am after security clearance.

A note found on the tracks claimed that the bomb was triggered by the Karbi Longri Northcachar Liberation Front (KLNLF) active in the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills.

Police said the explosion could have been part of a ‘training exercise’ given to the militants by the ULFA. — PTI



Central team to study situation in Assam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the ULFA killings in Assam as an ‘anti-people act of cowardice and inhumanity,’ the UPA government is sending a high-level team headed by Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal to the state tomorrow for an on-the-spot study of the situation.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil convened an emergency meeting to discuss the situation following the killings. He said it was an attempt to disturb communal harmony in Assam.

He affirmed that the government was always willing to talk to any group for finding a peaceful solution to the problems but the killing of innocent people would not be tolerated.

Mr Patil stressed that the government was commited to dealing with terrorism firmly and sought the cooperation of the people of Assam in the fight.

Violence erupted in Assam after Union Home Secretary V K Duggal reviewed the security environment in the Northeastern state in the run up to the 33rd National Games scheduled to begin in Guwahati on February 9.

The Centre is keeping close tabs on the situation and has alerted Bihar and West Bengal in the wake of the killings in Assam. It has advised the two states to take all precautionary measures to prevent any backlash, according to an official spokesman.

The banned ULFA had gunned down a large number of Bihari and Bengali brick-kiln workers and milkmen in Tinsukia district today. Nearly 17 non-Assamese were gunned down yesterday by the insurgent outfit in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts.



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