Guwahati, Feb 6 : Security has been stepped up across Assam, in the wake of discovery of two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the city ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kokrajhar on Friday to attend the celebrations of the recently-signed Bodo peace accord.
Around four to five lakh people are expected to be present for the ceremony at Jangkritai Fwtar near Kokrajhar town, about 216 kms from here.
The authorities have sounded an alert in the state after the two IEDs were found packed in bags from Pan Bazar and Paltan Bazar areas here around 10-30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The recoveries were made following a confessional statement given by an arrested ultra of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in Tinsukia district on Wednesday. The bomb disposal teams rushed in and defused the explosives.
"@GhtyCityPolice has made significant recovery of IEDs from Panbazar and Paltanbazar area. These were planted by ULFA to vitiate the peaceful environment in the state. We remain alert to evil designs of nefarious elements"," tweeted Additional Director General of state Police GP Singh.
The Prime Minister, on his first visit to Assam since the state saw major protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December, is scheduled to arrive here around 11 a.m. on the morrow and then fly to Kokrajhar in a chopper.
The state government was expecting between four and five lakh people from the four Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) - Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Chirang and Baksa - and other regions of the north eastern state for the programme.
To ensure a large attendance, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's government has declared a public holiday in the four districts on Friday.
Top state government functionaries including Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have been visiting the venue since last week to supervise the preparations.
Sonowal himself went to the spot on Wednesday and later said the function would enable the people to express their gratitude to the Prime Minister for the treaty which has "ushered in a new lease of hope and enthusiasm among them".
Modi would be welcomed by hundreds of Bodo girls who are now rehearsing hard for performing the traditional Bagurumba dance in his honour.
The various ethnic communities of the state would present a cultural programme to bring out the diversity that characterises the state.
The Prime Minister, who is visiting the state on an invite from the state government, is expected to assure the indigenous people of Assam that their political, cultural and linguistic rights would be protected forever and there would be no fresh influx of refugees as a fallout of the new Citizenship Act.
The Centre and the state government inked a peace agreement with representatives of Bodo organisations on January 27, attempting to put an end to the decades-old Bodo insurgency based on the demand for carving out a separate state.
The tripartite agreement announced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah provides for the economic and political development of Bodos without affecting the territorial integrity of Assam.
The accord is the third Bodo peace agreement to be signed since 1993. The demand for a separate Bodoland is almost five decades old.
As part of the accord, altogether 1,615 cadres of the three factions of separatist organisation National Democratic Front of Bodoland laid down their arms before Chief Minister Sonowal last Thursday. They deposited 178 arms and 4,893 pieces of ammunition.
Modi was earlier invited by the state government to declare open the "Khelo India" Games in Guwahati on January 10, but the visit did not happen as he could not find time.
The news of the Prime Minister not coming to Guwahati for the Games came amidst the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which is spearheading the protests against the new citizenship law, had then warned of mass protests if Modi came here for the Games. However, this time the AASU has not called any protest in connection with the Prime Minister's trip.