ULFA bandh hits normal life

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Guwahati, Feb 19: The ULFA's Assam bandh call has hit normal life today. In the meantime, the 12 hour ULFA sponsored bandh has hit the Brahmaputra valley hard and there was very little vehicular movement on the road and most of the towns looked deserted. The rail and airlines operated normally but not the bus services.

So far there had not been any report of any violence. The bandh call was given demanding release of the arrested PCG member Lachit Bardoloi, who was arrested in connection with the alleged plane hijacking conspiracy. The ULFA denied that they had ever conspired to hijack a plane. ''Our tough actions would continue. There would be no stopping. I have instructed the security forces to go all out'' said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The security forces had been achieving major success in the past one week, killing four ULFA cadres and arresting more than a dozen with arms, from various parts of the state besides foiling an alleged hijack conspiracy and two bombing attempts.

The ULFA too on the other hand rejected moderate path of peace and announced in their mouthpiece ''Freedom'' that they would ''no longer be interested on the peace process. This is the time of struggle and offence'' it said. "They have been talking like these for long. They are trying to continue to terrorie the people. But they have not been successful because of our security. Now they are sending new recruits in to Guwahati to evade our net,'' said lower Assam DIG G P Singh.

However, Mr Gogoi made it clear that only if the ULFA directly shows interest for negotiation then only the operation would be suspended. "Otherwise it would continue. There is no point wasting time with PCG because they do not have that much access and control over the leadership of the ULFA," he said.

The ULFA had constituted the Peoples Consultative Group (PCG) as a liason between them and the Government. Mr Gogoi also charged that as per the intelligence briefing given to him by the state police, the arrested PCG member Lachit Bardoloi had connections with the ULFA and was working as an over ground member of the banned organization.

Another such PCG member Hiranya Saikia, however, accused the Congress government of using the ULFA to cross the electoral battle.

UNI

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