Guwahati: The Republic Day boycott called by Northeast militant outfits, including the ULFA and NDFB, failed to evoke response in Assam on January 26 with people coming out in large numbers to attend the celebrations. Governor JB Patnaik unfurled the National Tricolour and addressed the people at the central function at the Khanapara Veterinary College playground here.
Besides march pasts by the state police and central security forces, there were also dance performances by different ethnic groups of the state upholding the spirit of the republic. Similar official Republic Day functions were organised by the government at district headquarters addressed by cabinet ministers.
No untoward incident had been reported as security was tightened across the state, official sources said. An alert was also sounded following intelligence that the ULFA along with Maoists may carry out subversive activities across the state, the sources said.
Trains and air services operated as usual though long distance and city private buses kept off the roads as the transport operators gave holiday to their staff on account of Republic Day, the sources said. With the day being a national holiday, offices, banks, educational institutions, etc., remained closed. Markets in some places remained closed though some shops were open. Buses, private taxis and autorickshaws of state-run Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) plied as usual, they said.
In defiance of the boycott call, private vehicles and large number of people on foot were also seen making their way to the various R-Day celebration venues across the state. The N-E insurgent outfits had called for boycott of Republic Day celebrations from 1 am to 5.30 pm as a mark of 'resistance'.
The outfits had alleged that there was heavy investment in militarisation and policing in the region and under the mask of ceasefire, suspension of operation, homecoming ceremonies, military civic action programs, etc., the government indulged in covert military operations. Besides ULFA, the other outfits that joined the boycott call were NDFB, Coordination Committee of Manipur's seven outfits, National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and Tripura People's Democratic Front (TPDF).
In the run-up to the Republic Day, huge quantities of explosives and ammunitions, bombs and uranium were recovered from different parts of the state.