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Home Ministry directs Assam to strengthen security

October 30, 2008 20:41 IST

Rattled by the serial blasts across Assam, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday decided not to pull out paramilitary troops from the state for duty in the coming assembly elections and directed the Tarun Gogoi government to further strengthen security in vulnerable areas.
The ministry also did not rule out involvement of groups having "external linkages" in the blasts that claimed over 60 lives.
After the ministry reviewed the situation at various levels, Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta told media-persons that the state government has been directed to strengthen security in affected and vulnerable areas.
Asked whether additional forces would be sent to the troubled state, he said there were enough paramilitary forces and they would be retained there and not deployed in six poll-bound states.
Gupta  parried questions as to who could be behind the blasts saying it could be possibly some northeast groups having "external linkages", an apparent reference to Bangladesh-based Harkat ul Jehad Islamiya which has links with the United Liberation Front of Asom. ULFA has, however, denied its involvement.  

Fingers are being pointed at HuJI, a banned group which has of late become active in certain parts of Assam.
Incidents of hoisting of flags with crescent and moon have been reported in Darrang and Udalguri districts which saw bloody clashes between Bodo tribals and Bangladeshi immigrants last month, though the state government has denied such incidents.
Sources in the Ministry said Thursday's blasts could be possible retaliation to killing of six HuJI militants by security forces in the state.

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