Suspected United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) rebels gunned down a Hindi speaker in Assam’s Lakhimpur district early Thursday morning.
The killing is believed to be a subversive message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his two-day visit for the annual conference of India’s police chiefs here this weekend.
For the Ulfa(I), led by Paresh Barua, Hindi speakers are representatives of ‘colonial powers’ in New Delhi.
Police said two motorcycle-borne Ulfa(I) militants fired at employees of a fuel outlet at Khelmati, 360 km north-east of Guwahati, killing Kumud Kumar Patel on the spot and injuring two others identified as Santosh Patel and Rupak Kumar. The two were hospitalized.
“Two employees were asleep when the assailants opened fire indiscriminately,” SK Bhuyan, district police chief, said.
Almost simultaneously, security forces killed an Ulfa(I) rebel named Mridul Gogoi near Tingkhang in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district. The outfit, while owning up to the Lakhimpur attack, said Gogoi belonged to the pro-talks faction of the Ulfa.
On Thursday morning, the police in Guwahati seized three boxes of explosives from a commercial vehicle near Mizoram House in the city. They arrested the driver, Saharuddin Barbhuiya and another passenger.
Barbhuiya told the police the boxes were loaded by a courier agency in Mizoram capital Aizawl on Wednesday. Police found some 1,800 detonators, more than 500 gelatin sticks and 12 rolls of wire in them.
The police in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district too recovered four rocket launchers, a carbine, 40 live cartridges and five explosive devices. “These were found in a field in the morning,” additional SP Sauravjyoti Saikia said.
“Ruling party members in New Delhi and in Assam are always on the target of militant outfits such as Ulfa(I) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland.
Recovery of explosives has made us tighten security in view of the Prime Minister’s visit,” Assam police chief Khagen Sarma said.
Apart from Modi’s visit, police are also wary of terror strikes the Ulfa(I) might carry out to mark its annual ‘protest day’ on November 28.