I-Day celebrations in northeast amid rebel boycott call | india | Hindustan Times
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I-Day celebrations in northeast amid rebel boycott call

india Updated: Aug 15, 2007 09:55 IST

A six-hour general strike enforced by separatist rebels on Wednesday to boycott Independence Day celebrations failed to have any impact in the northeastern states of Assam, Manipur and Tripura.

Public and private vehicles were plying normally with people beginning to make their way to participate in the national day celebrations in the three states.

Four rebel groups, including the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) and the Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF), called a six-hour general that began at 6 am on Wednesday to boycott the 60th Independence Day.

There has been a wave of separatist attacks in Assam in the run-up to the Independence Day in which 36 people were killed, 28 of them being Hindi-speaking migrant workers.

A massive security alert was sounded in the three states to thwart rebel attempts of sabotaging the national celebrations.

The army has intensified patrols and aerial surveillance across the northeast, while police have set up roadblocks in towns and villages, besides conducting searches in areas known to be infested by militants.

Militants in the insurgency-hit northeast have been boycotting India's Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations to protest New Delhi's rule over the vast region rich in oil, tea and timber.

The run-up to the events has always been violent, with rebels striking vital installations including crude oil pipelines, trains and road and rail bridges, besides targeting federal soldiers.

More than 30 rebel armies operate in the northeastern states, their demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy and the right to self-determination.