Bodos and Bengalis, a mix of native and Bangladeshi Muslims, continued to flee their homes in western Assam even as police arrest 30 people in connection with yesterday’s attack by suspected National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) miitants. The Army has been staging flag marches in the area.
Under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s directions, cabinet secretary Ajit Seth held a review meeting with Union and State authorities in New Delhi. After the meeting, the PMO said 20 companies (approximately 2000 personnel) of central forces have been made available to the State and additional companies, including Cobra companies, will be sent as required.
Arrests by police, flag marches by the Army and assurance from the PMO have not been able to instil confidence in the locals who are escaping the dangerous areas in hordes. Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Baksa districts.
The exodus defies the prime minister’s statement that goes: “The people of Assam have been braving terrorist attacks with courage and fortitude in the past. They have voted in large numbers in the polling for the general elections and I am confident they will continue to fight terror resolutely,” said Singh who represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha and exercised his franchise there on 24 April.
Angry protestors in Nankekhadrabari area today said they will not perform the last rites of the bodies of the 18 people, including children and women, till Gogoi comes and personally assures to provide security to their lives and property. “Does our life have no value? We are only demanding that we are protected and we are not attacked and killed in future,” they told reporters.
Since yesterday, different theories have been foated to account for the violence. As per the latest speculation, militants targeted the villagers for not voting for their candidate in the elections. However, police suspects that the attacks are to avenge the ongoing anti-insurgency operation by the security forces in the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) region, where some NDFB militants have been killed recently.
So far, 33 people are reported to have been killed by gunmen.