55 People Killed by Suspected Bodo Militants in Assam
GUWAHATI: Militants belonging to the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB-S) today killed at least 55 people in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts. Twenty-four of the victims were killed in Biswanath Chariali and six in Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district and seven in Kokrajhar district. The death toll may go up as the condition of several of the injured was stated to be serious, while a few were reported missing after the attacks as they escaped to the nearby jungles.
At least eight persons including three women were gunned down at Phulbari in Biswanath Chariali this evening, and the injured have been admitted to hospital, where the condition of at least three is serious. Several persons escaped to the nearby jungles and their whereabouts were not yet known.
Five persons were killed in an attack by NDFB (S) militants in Shantipur village under Dhekiajuli Police Station in Sonitpur district. The militants, armed with sophisticated weapons opened fire on the villagers, leaving them with no chance to escape.
Four women were killed and four others received bullet injuries when heavily armed militants belonging to the NDFB (S) opened indiscriminate firing in Pakhiriguri village under Serphanguri Police Station in Kokrajhar district today. In another incident in the same district, three persons were reportedly killed in a similar attack by the militants. However, the details of the incident were still not available as it took place in an interior place and a police team rushed to the spot. Police sources said that the details of the incident would be known only after the police team returns from the spot.
It may be mentioned here that the NDFB (S) has been suffering setbacks in anti-insurgency operations in recent times and only on Sunday, two militants were killed when police and security forces demolished a camp of the outfit in Chirang district. The forces also managed to rescue a businessman, who was kidnapped by the militants.
To hit back, the NDFB started launching an attack from yesterday and last evening alone, they lobbed grenades at six places. Fortunately, two of the grenades did not explode and several persons were injured in the attacks.
Majority of those killed belonged to the Adivashi community. It is still not known as to why the militants targeted one particular community. However, a major ethnic clash between Bodo and Adivashi communities took place in 1996 in Kokrakjar district. But since then, there was no major incident involving the two communities.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has strongly condemned the killing of innocent people by the militants and warned that the government will continue with its anti-militant drive. The Chief Minister has asked ministers Rockybul Hussain, Prithvi Majhi and Tankabahadur Rai to immediately rush to affected areas in Sonitpur district. While, ministers Nilomoni Sen Deka and Basanta Das, Parliamentary secretary (Home) Etwa Munda to rush to Kokrajhar district, said CM’s press adviser Bharat Narah.
Our Biswanath Chariali correspondent adds: After a gap of five years of Bhimajuli massacre in Biswanath sub-division in Sonitpur district that had taken place on October 4 in 2009, suspected NDFB (S) cadres acted again today in another interior place in that region along the Assam-Arunachal border.
According to information received here, a group of heavily armed NDFB cadres stormed into Phulbari village in Sonajuli area under Balichang Police Outpost around 6 pm and started firing at the villagers killing at least seven Adivasi people on the spot, including three women. Several others were also seriously injured in the firing by militants and they have been admitted to the Biswanath Chariali Civil Hospital. Police and Army personnel accompanied by high officials have rushed to the spot and started combing operations. Details are awaited.