The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) separatist group was luring students with money to carry out explosions ahead of Independence Day, say police and army officers in Assam.
“The ULFA is trapping students from economically weak families and some of them studying in towns and cities away from their homes to indulge in terror strikes... maybe using them to carry explosives or doing other such things,” Assam police chief GM Srivastava told IANS.
“It is not that the ULFA managed a large number of such students but even if the number is less, it is a bad trend,” he added.
In parts of eastern Assam, the ULFA has managed to hire several young students for carrying out subversive attacks.
"This is a fact. The ULFA has of late been hiring students to trigger blasts," said an army commander, requesting not to be named.
"These students are used by the ULFA to carry out grenade attacks and other explosions in public places in return for money and things like mobile telephones, cars and motorbikes," he said.
Police arrested three students from different parts of the district earlier last year on specific charges of colluding with the ULFA.
Intelligence reports said the ULFA and the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were planning a major strike in Assam's main city of Guwahati with at least four bombers already sneaking into the city.
Police Monday killed an NDFB bomber in an encounter in Guwahati, while two managed to escape.
On Sunday, an ULFA bomber was arrested along with a programmable time device (PTED) from Guwahati.
“The PTED was timed in such a way that once triggered the blast would have taken place in 17 minutes and was capable of causing maximum casualty,” said G.P. Singh, a senior police official.
The ULFA and the NDFB were both blamed for the Oct 30 serial bombings in Assam in which 100 people were killed and 400 injured.