Gogoi asked to avoid public meetings
The Assam police's Special Branch (SB) has advised Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and seven of his cabinet colleagues to restrict their movement and avoid public meetings, particularly in remote areas, for at least two months.
The SB caution followed a string of strikes by the ULFA as well as the Hyderabad mosque blast believed to have been triggered by the Bangladeshi outfit Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islam (HuJI). The ULFA is allegedly an associate of the HuJI as well as home-grown jihadi groups such as Muslim United Liberation Front of Asom.
According to the chief minister's office (CMO), the SB note was received on Monday evening. "It has advised against visiting remote areas or holding public meetings in areas that do not have good connectivity," a CMO official said.
Notably, the ULFA has been targeting Congress leaders since January when it massacred over 60 Hindi-speaking people in eastern Assam. At least seven Congress leaders, most of them at the block and panchayat levels, were gunned down in recent months.
The ULFA has also allegedly been using addresses of Congress leaders and offices, including the party headquarters, to procure mobile SIM cards. "We are looking into such reports," said BSNL's Assam Circle CGM G Rajaram.
While government spokesman and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma trashed the reports, Assam Pradesh Youth Congress President Rekibuddin Ahmed did not rule out the possibility of militants doctoring addresses of Congress offices and leaders to get pre-paid BSNL connection.
The Army had earlier this week "leaked" over a dozen CellOne numbers used by ULFA hitmen. Documents related to these numbers showed the militants had used addresses of various block Congress offices to get connections. Ujjwal Gohain, top member of the ULFA's dreaded 28th battalion had reportedly received four CellOne and one Reliance SIM card using Rajiv Bhavan as his address.
Rajiv Bhavan is the headquarters of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, of which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a member.
The Opposition, though, was quick to pounce on the development. "The links have become apparent," said AGP's veteran leader Dilip Kumar Saikia while BJP's Charan Deka has sought CBI inquiry into the reports.