ULFA’s strength has declined: Gogoi

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GOGOIGuwahati, July 27;With the ULFA observing its annual ‘martyr’s day’ on Saturday in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the strength of the insurgents has declined and the security forces have foiled many of their attempts.

“Today is their ‘shaheed divas’ and so they are trying their best to make their presence felt. We are resilient and the security forces have foiled many attempts,” Mr. Gogoi said.

“However, some incidents have occurred and we are very serious about this,” Mr. Gogoi told reporters here referring to the grenade blasts in the state this week.

“ULFA’s strength has come down a lot. When I took charge in 2001, about 400 people were killed a year by them. It is only around 10 deaths so far this year,” Mr. Gogoi said.

Stating that the government has alerted all districts to keep a strict vigil, he accused the banned outfit of getting help from ‘more than one country’ to destabilise peace and development in the state.

Earlier this week, six persons were injured in a grenade blast at a busy market area in Bokolia town in Karbi Anglong district.

A day earlier, suspected insurgents triggered three serial grenade blasts in Lakhimpur district, injuring five persons on the high security Deputy Commissioner Court road, jail Road and Chawlkhowa areas.

The police have arrested four persons, including an ULFA cadre and three surrendered members of the outfit for the Lakhimpur incident.

Another militant, who was tasked with carrying out a blast in Dibrugarh, also surrendered.

The chief minister also said that a task-force would be set up within a month to look into the modernisation of the police and to control terror incidents.

“We are going to constitute a committee. It will be a task-force. It will deal with the issues of how to modernise the police and how to contain such (terror) incidents,” Mr. Gogoi said.

The task-force was likely to have members from various security agencies like police and army, besides prominent public figures.

Speaking about modernisation of the police force, the chief minister said “We are very serious about it. We are trying to modernise all facilities, training and other amenities … We have already recruited 12,000 and we are going to recruit 8,000 more personnel.”

Mr. Gogoi, who held a high-level security meeting on Friday, said as the definition of crime has expanded to various fields like child-trafficking and cyber crime, the police force needed to be trained to handle such cases.

Asked if the police were not delivering its full potential, Mr. Gogoi said “Assam police is one of the best in the country. I am proud to have this force. It has fully controlled insurgency compared to many state police.”

Stating that thrust was on development and security, he said “No investor will come here if there is no sense of security in the state.

“We are working for huge employment generation. We are also talking to CII and FICCI for jobs by private players in the MSME sector. The government would also construct houses for the rural and urban poor ‘in a big way’, besides taking care of children and widow who were victims of social disturbances,” he said.

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