A minor boy was killed in a heavy crossfire between the security forces and a group of suspected militants of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) at a village under Kalaigaon police station in northern Assam’s Udalguri district on Tuesday.

One of the militants was also killed while two army jawans sustained bullet injuries in the encounter which lasted for more than six hours. The encounter which started around 4 p.m. in the afternoon was on still on continued till late Tuesday night. The Army troops have cordoned off three villages — Amguri, Balipara and Dakhin Bhekulikanda — where an eight-member ULFA group was reportedly hiding and engaged in encounter with the troops.

Principal Secretary, Home Subhash Das told The Hindu the minor boy Hirakjyoti Deka succumbed to bullet wound on way to hospital.

Police sources said that the minor boy was the son of a Nareswar Deka, a daily wage earner from near whose house the ULFA militants reportedly fired upon the troops, who retaliated resulting in the heavy exchange of fire.

Ealier in the day jailed ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa reiterated that there could be no peace talks with handcuffs on. The ULFA chairman made this comment when he was asked to comment on Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s appeal to the jailed ULFA leaders to sit for peace talks. He also ruled out giving any letter to the government in this regard immediately. Mr. Rajkhowa made the brief statement when taken to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital for treatment of his dental ailment.

Later in the day Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, however, insisted that ULFA leaders must give a written communiqué expressing their willingness to sit for peace talks. He said that there should be some basis for the government to move on. Mr. Gogoi also said that any matter could be discussed under the purview of the Constitution.