The Army was called out in Bhimajuli in northern Assam’s Sonitpur district on Monday to stage a flag march after Sunday night’s terror attack which sparked off violent protests in the affected village and the nearby areas.
Angry residents, armed with spears, machetes, sticks, bows and arrows, took to the streets on Monday in search of militants of the Ranjan Daimari-led anti-talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), suspected to be behind the Sunday night massacre, in which 12 villagers, including women and minors, were killed.
Tension gripped the district on Monday after miscreants took advantage of the people’s protests and set on fire abandoned houses belonging to the Bodo tribe, official sources said. The Army, paramilitary troops and police contingents fanned out to sensitive areas to prevent the flaring up of ethnic tension.
The death toll in the terror attack went up to 12 after a girl died of bullet injuries on way to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. Eight-year-old Raju Pradhan was declared dead on arrival. The condition of at least four of the 13 injured is stated to be serious.
Two more persons were injured when the police blank fired thrice to disperse residents who attacked the police station at Balichang. They torched the vehicle of the Circle Officer and attacked the escort vehicle of the convoy of Director-General of Police Sankar Barua.
Principal Secretary, Home, Subhash Das, told The?Hindu that the Army had been called outto prevent escalation of violence in the affected areas, stage flag maches to instil confidence in the people and assist the civil administration in bringing back normality.
A three-member ministerial team and the DGP, who rushed to the spot on Monday morning for a first-hand assessment of the situation and met the families of the victims and the injured, had to return to Balichang police station as villagers blocked the way to the affected villages.
The ministerial team included Revenue Minister Bhumidhar Barman, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Narah and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. They were joined by Fisheries Minister Nurjamal Sarkar, who has been camping in the area following the attack. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi reviewed the situation and asked the administration to take all steps to apprehend the militants behind the massacre.
Dr. Barman announced an ex gratia of Rs.3 lakh to the kin of the victims, Rs.50,000 to each person with serious injuries and Rs.10,000 for those with minor injuries. The Ministers also announced that the government would bear the cost of the treatment of the injured.
Gorkha body condemns Assam killing
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, an apex body of Gorkhas, on Monday condemned the killing of seven Nepalese-speaking people in Sonitpur district of Assam on Sunday night and criticised the Tarun Gogoi government for failing to give them security.
“The BGP condemns the killing of innocent Nepalese-speaking people by the NDFB militants in Sonitpur district because the victims did not pay extortion,” BGP Working President CK Shrestha told reporters here.
He said that the Gogoi government could not escape its responsibility for the killings as it failed to provide security despite public knowledge about the militant outfits demand for extortion and threats.
The massacre could have been avoided if the state government had intensified security measures for the migrant people, Mr. Shrestha said.