"We have placed security forces on high alert to thwart rebels from disrupting the Republic Day celebrations," Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the Home Ministry, said over the phone from New Delhi.

Six frontline separatist groups in the region have called a boycott of the Republic Day and also a general strike from 1 am to 5 pm on January 26. Separatist rebel groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events and have staged violent attacks in the run-up to the celebrations to make their presence felt.

"We are on full alert and shall see to it that we are able to foil any attempts by rebels to attack," an Assam Rifles official said.

The six rebel groups announced their boycott on Monday through a joint statement e-mailed to several media houses.

The call has been given by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation, the National Liberation Front of TWIPRA (NLFT), the Tripura People's Democratic Front (TPDF) and Coordination Committee (CorCom) - an umbrella of seven major separatist outfits - fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in Manipur.

These groups are active in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Thousands of army, police and paramilitary troopers are standing guard in other northeastern states to ensure that militants do not disrupt the Republic Day celebrations, particularly in Manipur.

"Flush out operations is on to nab the rebels who are attempting to disrupt the Republic Day celebration. The police across Manipur have been put on high alert and we are bent on thwarting any subversive activity by the militants," Manipur’s Inspector General of Police Lupheng Kailun said.

The rebel groups often target vital installations like road and rail bridges, oil installations and security forces.

(Agencies)

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