Four more persons were gunned down in Assam by NDFB militants on Tuesday while a man succumbed to his injuries, taking the toll in the overnight violence to 23, as the rebels warned of more killings.
Official sources said a group of NDFB militants shot dead one person and injured six others at Dauraighat near Harinaguri in Kokrajhar police station on Tuesday evening. A Hindi-speaking person and another, belonging to a minority community, were shot dead by the militants at Ultapani in Kokrajhar district on the Indo-Bhutan border this morning, while a cycle mechanic Paran Mondal was killed at his residence in Domgaon village bordering Chirang district, police said.
One of those injured at Batasipur yesterday in Sonitpur district succumbed to his injuries at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and is understood to have asked him to take steps to apprehend the culprits.
During a telephonic conversation, Chidambaram is believed to have told the chief minister to ensure security of innocent civilians. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, "We are not going to be cowed down by terror."
He said that the security forces have launched an offensive against the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland militants while a state-wide red alert has been sounded. During stepped up operations a joint team of the police and army were fired upon by three NDFB militants at Jingabil under Mazbat police station in Udalguri district in the evening. The security forces retaliated, the sources said. Warning of more violence, NDFB spokesperson B Sadbangso told a local news TV channel that the recent violence was in reply to an encounter in Sonitpur district where an "innocent Bodo tribal civilian" Mahesh Basumatary was killed.
"We took revenge for his death. We warn of more violent attacks, if security forces continue their offensive against us," he said. On November 1, self-styled NDFB lieutenant B Jwngkhang had threatened to take the lives of 20 or more people for every Bodo or NDFB cadre killed in "fake encounters" by the security forces.
Yesterday, the militants had killed 18 people, including eight Hindi-speaking and eight bus passengers, and injured over 20. Most of the attacks took place in Sonitpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
Chief Minister Gogoi told the assembly that his government is not going to be cowed down by terror. "The army, police and paramilitary forces have already launched massive operations in NDFB strongholds. The government will tackle militancy strongly. "The anti-talk group of the NFFB is responsible for the killings and we will not tolerate it. The anti-talk group or whoever breaks the law will not be tolerated," Gogoi said in response to the opposition accusing the government of failing to protect the people.
Pointing out that the government had offered peace talks to NDFB chairman Ranjan Daimary and ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, he said, "They have to abjure violence. We condemn the inhuman killing of innocent people."