A security alert has been sounded in Assam fearing a possible backlash by militants of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). The group is opposed to peace talks, especially in view of the outfit's chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa's decision to join the peace process.
An Assam government spokesperson said army, police, and paramilitary troopers were deployed in strength in vulnerable areas, guarding vital installations like oil facilities, railway tracks and bridges, besides crowded marketplaces.
"You never know what could happen. There could be some backlash, we are not ruling out that possibility," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.
Rajkhowa is believed to be in New Delhi and housed at an army base.
ULFA's commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah has reacted strongly to Rajkhowa's decision to join the peace process.
"Anybody is free to hold talks. But my stand is clear that I am not going to compromise on the main demand of sovereignty and will continue to fight," Baruah told the local media on Thursday.
This is a hint that the ULFA group led by Baruah would now try and make their presence felt by staging violent strikes.
Meanwhile security forces Friday morning gunned down two militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in a shoot out in northern Assam.
The incident took place near Hatisinga village in Udalguri district, about 90 km north of Guwahati, around 4 am.
"The two NDFB militants were on a motorbike and when challenged by an army column, they opened fire," an army spokesperson said.
A pistol and a carbine were recovered from the dead rebels.