Ulfa still a threat: DGP

The army's bomb disposal squad defused a 'sophisticated and powerful' IED suspected to have been planted by Ulfa at Mangaldoi in Darrang district on Thursday.

The IED was planted just outside the sadar police station on NH52.

Security forces have been put on high alert, apprehending strikes by the outfit ahead of Republic Day.

Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Jan. 24: The Paresh Barua faction of Ulfa may be facing manpower crisis but there is "no shortage" of arsenal for the outfit.

Assam director-general of police J.N. Choudhury today said even though the outfit does not have the capability (to carry out strikes) at present that it had some years ago, acquiring sophisticated weapons and explosives is still not a problem for the outfit.

According to Choudhury, the seizure of a large number of Chinese grenades and improvised explosive devices (IED) in Assam in 2012 is an indicator that the group still has access to sophisticated arms and ammunition.

Choudhury said the anti-talks faction of Ulfa is desperately trying to carry out attacks, which is reflected from the increase in the seizure of grenades and IEDs in 2012 as compared to 2011. According to police records, a total of 163 grenades and 110 IEDs were seized in 2012 compared to 110 grenades and 89 IEDs seized in 2011. Similarly, the number of rounds of ammunition seized went up to 9,320 in 2012 from 5,544 rounds in 2011.

Sustained operations by security forces and a split in the Ulfa ranks after the group led by Arabinda Rajkhowa came overground for holding talks, are believed to have considerably depleted the cadre strength of the Paresh Barua faction.

Choudhury said the easy availability of arms and ammunitions for militant groups and the illegal arms market in Dimapur is a cause for concern for the police. He said the security forces have been put on alert, as intelligence reports suggest that the anti-talks faction may carry out attacks ahead of Republic Day.

He said that though they don't have any concrete evidence on the reports of an Ulfa-LeT-HUJI link, they were trying to verify its authenticity.

On the Maoist threat, he said there are 114 Maoists at present, who are mostly active in Upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Dhemaji and are concentrating on mass mobilisation and creation of a support base.

Choudhury said even though there is no specific militant threat to the three-phase panchayat polls in January and February, the police have made elaborate arrangements for peaceful conduct of polls.

He said Assam police are preparing a roadmap to improve its capabilities for effectively tackling challenges that may emerge in the next 10 years.

He said the map will focus on crime prevention, law and order, training, metro policing, application of technology, traffic management and delivery of public services. Choudhury said the upgrade of technical capabilities and better training for personnel is a prerequisite for the police force if it had to effectively tackle new-age crimes.

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