The Assam government had till a few months ago considered ULFAs anti-talk faction leader Paresh Barua as a leader who had very few cadres left with him. But with a series of grenade strikes over the past one week,the perceptions seem to have changed.
While the Barua faction triggered panic by exploding a powerful grenade in the heart of the state capital Sunday,the police chief has directly attributed it to a strike force headed by Drishti Rajkhowa,a trusted lieutenant of Barua. The rebels have caused five grenade blasts in a week,including three in Lakhimpur.
Militancy is not over in Assam. The Paresh Barua faction has orders to strike at police stations. But when we spruced up security at police stations,they began to target crowded places, said DGP Jayanta Narayan Choudhury. He said that Sunday nights attack was carried out by a gang led by Rajkhowa. Rajkhowa is currently hiding somewhere in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya,the DGP added.
CM Tarun Gogoi,meanwhile,has admitted that there was some security lapse due to which the rebels were able to strike in the heart of Guwahati which,being the state capital,is supposed to have a higher degree of surveillance.
Gogoi was scheduled to hold a high-level review of the situation on Monday evening.
In Guwahati,the district authorities have banned pillion riding on two-wheelers in view of reports that the grenade on Sunday was hurled towards the police station by assailants on a motorcycle. Extremists are using two-wheelers to cause subversive activities including throwing grenades at the public and security forces, an order banning pillion-riding said on Monday.
Of the 17 persons who were injured in the grenade attack in front of the Paltanbazar Police Station here,three girls who are students of a Kendriya Vidyalaya at Hashimara in West Bengal have been released from hospital and flown to Bagdogra by the Assam government. All barring three persons are out of danger and are being released from the hospital, said health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.