[QODLink]
Archive
India's Assam on high alert after blasts
Soldiers are patrolling the largest city in India's northeast and frisking bus passengers after a series of grenade attacks blamed on
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2004 08:04 GMT
The seperatists spurned PM Manmohan Singh's offer of talks
Soldiers are patrolling the largest city in India's northeast and frisking bus passengers after a series of grenade attacks blamed on a powerful group killed one person and wounded 50.

The coordinated blasts in six areas in oil and tea-rich Assam came less than a week after the separatist United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) rejected an offer of peace talks with the government.

Security was tightened in the commercial capital, Guwahati, and across Assam, outside government buildings, oil installations and shopping centres - all sites which ULFA, fighting for an independent state, has targeted in the past.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, but police said they had intelligence intercepts suggesting ULFA was behind the blasts.

"They are trying to show their strength after rejecting the government's peace offer," said police inspector general DK Pathak.

The group spurned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's offer of talks, saying it could not accept Singh's demand that they first give up violence.

Insurgency

India's northeast is home to hundreds of tribes and dozens of insurgent groups, some fighting for secession and others for autonomy. 

Indian soldiers say grenades still
get through security checks



They blame New Delhi for plundering the region's resources of oil and timber and neglecting the local economy.

Tuesday's blasts took place exactly a year after India's tiny neighbour Bhutan launched a military offensive against ULFA to throw them out of the Himalayan kingdom where they had set up dozens of camps.

Pathak said police had intercepted messages from ULFA commanders instructing cadres to launch strikes to observe Revenge Day on 14 December, to mark the first anniversary of the operation against them in Bhutan.


Another police official said it was not easy to prevent grenade attacks, despite advance warning and heavy security checks.

"Throwing a grenade is not at all difficult for the militants because they can hide it in their body or inside handbags and then hurl it in a crowded place," said police superintendent Hiren Nath. 

Calls for peace

But in the neighbouring state of Nagaland, two exiled leaders of another powerful rebel group urged followers to support a peaceful end to their revolt which has seen thousands of deaths. 

"They are trying to show their strength after rejecting the government's peace offer" 

DK Pathak,
police inspector general



Isak Chishi Swu, chief of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, and General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, returned home to a hero's welcome on Tuesday.

The group, which has been fighting for a separate Naga nation for more than half a century, has been observing a ceasefire with Indian forces in Nagaland since 1997, but talks to end the revolt have made slow progress.
Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after caf killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.