Officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi acknowledged that there had been intelligence on insurgent groups like the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) planning attacks ahead of elections, especially around the group’s 30th anniversary that falls on Tuesday.
Monday’s serial blasts were also timed ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s election rally nearly 450 km away in Dibrugarh, the education hub of upper Assam.
The coincidence was not lost on the security establishment that had cleared Singh’s visit to Assam on the same day as the Ulfa’s Raising Day.
This was the third blast in Assam this year triggered around the same time a political dignitary from Delhi was to visit the state. Home Minister P Chidambaram’s and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visits to the state were preceded by blasts.
The Prime Minister will keep his date with Assam on the same day.
Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta had last week held a detailed review of the security situation in the Northeast and advised Assam to be continuously alert to threats emanating from various insurgent groups. Gupta and a team of security experts will go to the Northeast for another security review meeting before elections in the state, scheduled on April 16 and 23.
Immediately after the blasts, Gupta picked up the telephone to tell Chief Secretary PK Sarma to “further step up alert all over the state, not just Guwahati”.
The home secretary is understood to have emphasised that while the security agencies would have to be “very very vigilant”, the state should also seek assistance of the people.