Sandeep Dikshit

Says the level of preparedness of security forces has improved

“No quarter will be given to the banned outfit”

Blasts do not mean police are negligent: Minister

NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday ruled out talks with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and attributed Monday’s blasts in Assam to retaliation by the banned outfit following the recent gunning down of some of its top leaders.

Asked at a news conference whether the government would respond to signals from the ULFA for talks, he said, “no quarter will be given and no quarter will be asked of the ULFA. It is a banned organisation and it will be fought by security forces.”

“Vulnerable period”

Secretary (Border Management) in the Home Ministry Vinay Kumar pointed out that the period between March 16 (so called ULFA Army Day) and April 7 (so called ULFA Raising Day) had “always been a vulnerable period” in Assam for several years.

On high alert

“The security forces, especially the Assam police, were on high alert and tried their best to secure the most vulnerable locations. It is unfortunate and deeply regretted that the adversary were able to strike this time,” he said.

Maintaining that the level of preparedness of the security forces had improved, Mr. Chidambaram said their inability to prevent and pre-empt the attacks did not mean that they were weak or inefficient.

“They are our men and they are doing a remarkable job. We had good intelligence in some cases of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which were then detected.

“IEDs were planted in a dozen locations and they were detected by the security forces. But that does not make news. The Assam police have spread their net far and wide, and because of their vigil, a dozen attempts were thwarted. Yesterday’s blasts do not mean the Assam police were negligent,” he maintained.

Neutralisation

One reason for the ULFA stepping up its activity was the neutralisation of several of its leaders such as Bhaskar Hazarika, Tapan Roy, Pranjal Deka, Anupam Gogoi and Kushal Das in the last three months.

Four security personnel also laid down their lives in these operations. In all, 42 ULFA cadres were arrested and 15 killed during this period.

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