"We have placed security forces on high alert in Assam and Manipur to thwart rebels from disrupting the Independence Day celebrations," Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (northeast) in the Home Ministry, said on Tuesday.

"Six frontline separatist groups in the region have called boycott of the Independence Day and have announced a general strike from 1 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on August 15 as a mark of resistance against what they call Indian colonial occupation and military repression," Singh said.

The call has been given by the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and Coordination Committee, which are fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in Manipur.
These groups are active in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura.

"We are on full alert and shall foil any attempts by rebels to attack," an Assam Rifles official said. Thousands of army, police and paramilitary troopers are standing guard in other northeastern states to ensure that militants are not able to create violence ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, particularly in Manipur and Assam.

"We are not taking chances. Police across Manipur have been put on high alert and we are bent on thwarting any subversive activity by the militants," Imphal District Police Chief Konsam Jayanta Singh said.

Rebel groups often target vital installations like road and rail bridges, oil installations, and security forces as part of their design. The six rebel groups announced their boycott on Monday through a joint statement e-mailed to several media houses.

"The Indian independence from the British rule in 1947 was merely a transfer of colonial power into the hands of the Indian rulers who are connected to work in collusion with the oppressive feudal lords, princes and global finance institutions. The subjugated and oppressed peoples of the region cannot have fraternal relation with the exploitative Indian colonialist," the statement said.

Separatists rebel groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events to protest New Delhi's rule over the region and have staged attacks in the run-up to Independence Day celebrations to make their presence felt.

(Agencies)

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