Saturday 21 May 2022
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Assam witnesses violence again, 30 killed

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Separatist militants in have killed at least 11 people in the State, police inform. Eight villagers have been injured in two attacks in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts late yesterday. The incident happend in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD). Police have blamed the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)’s Songbijit faction for the attack. The outfit wants an independent homeland for the ethnic group to be carved out of Assam. Thursday’s attacks took place in areas populated by non-Bodo people.

First, in the Kokrajhar town last evening, gunmen assailed a journalist from a vernacular daily. But the bullets misfired. Second, in the Narasingbari village area near Anandabazar, under Gobardhan police station in Baska district, three persons – a couple and a girl child –  were killed and two others injured. Third, one person was injured in an incident of in Tamulpur of the Baska district on in the night. All the injured in Baska district’s violence were admitted to the civil hospital in Mushalpur in the district. Lastly, in the Balapara–I village under Gossaigaon sub division in Kokrajhar district, 6 persons of 4 families were killed on the spot when armed men started indiscriminate firing at them from automatic weapons. Police recovered AK-47 rifle cartridges from the site.

Ofthe 6 persons injured in the Balapara–I village attack, 1 succumbed to his injuries. The injured in this incident was admitted at the Dhubri civil hospital. The police have recovered one more of a youth from the Balapara–I village on Friday morning. The youth was missing since last night.

It has been learnt from villagers that the group of armed miscreants was dressed in black clothes and after the violence, the group disappeared into the nearby hilly areas.

“The first attack took place in a village in Baksa in western where the rebels killed three people. The second incident happened in Kokrajhar where the rebels gunned down seven people,” LR Bishnoi, a senior police official in Kokrajhar, said. “The authorities will take firm action against those involved in this crime,” said government spokesman Nilamoni Sen Dena.

The dead included six women and two children. Police and the army have launched an operation to track down the rebels, but there have been no arrests so far. Paramilitary forces were deployed in the district to prevent further violence.

This is yet another terror attack during the general election season after two bombs exploded in Chennai yesterday, killing a Consultancy Services employee. However, unlike yesterday where a Muslim was detained, this time those killed belonged mostly to the minority community. Rakibul Islam of All Bodoland Muslim Students Union said local Muslims had been threatened by Bodo groups “because they thought Muslims had voted for non-Bodo candidates” during elections in on 24 April.

In Kokrajhar, the Bodo heartland, Muslim migrants are regularly attacked by Bodo separatist rebels and this periodically erupts into full-scale riots. More than 100 migrants were killed in one such raid at Bansbari, a makeshift camp for displaced Muslims in 1993.

Two years ago, 40 people were killed in clashes between Bodo people and Muslim settlers in this region. While the Bodos now have an autonomous territorial council which one of their parties, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), controls, they feel migrants have taken over much of the land they traditionally occupied. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial Narendra Modi said last week in a speech that immigrants from Bangladesh should have their “bags packed” in case he came to power. But the police also suspect the sudden attacks are a retaliation to the ongoing anti-insurgency operation by security forces in the BTAD region, where some NDFB militants have been killed recently.

Update: 3 May

The death toll of yesterday’s violence has risen to 30. At least seven more persons have been killed in militant attacks in the Ananda Bazar area in Baksa district of lower Assam, after it was reported by media last night that the number of casualties was 23. Our report above was filed last morning after the militants hit Balapara-I village in Kokrajhar district in the early hours, indiscriminately inside three houses in which they had barged in killing seven persons, including 4 women and 2 children, on the spot. The of a three-year-old child also killed in the attack was recovered from the area later. Later Friday night, 12 bullet-riddled bodies, including of five women and a child, were recovered from Nankekhadrabari and Nayanguri villages in Baksa district.

Then, miscreants torched about 70 houses of the minority community on the banks of the Beki river near the Manas National Park.

 In the strike by 40 odd NDFB(S) militants armed with AK-47 rifles, 14 others were seriously injured in the communally sensitive districts of Kokrajhar and Baksa that come under the Bodoland Territorial Administration Districts (BTAD) area. The Army was deployed and yet the attacks continued. Curfew has been clamped in the violence-hit districts and also in Chirang district, under the BTAD area, as a precautionary measure. A shoot-at-sight order has been issued.

Troops have been staging flag marches to instil confidence among the locals in the violence-affected places and to bring the situation under control, the Chief Minister’s office (CMO) said in a statement. [Agencies]

 

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