Sushanta Talukdar

GUWAHATI: Unidentified gunmen shot dead three timber merchants belonging to the Hindi-speaking community near Sukajuri under Chamguri police station in central Assam’s Nagaon district bordering Karbi Anglong district on Monday morning.

Nagaon Deputy Commissioner K. Balaji told The Hindu that the attackers were suspected to be militants of Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF). He said the militants came to their houses and called out by their names and, after taking them to some distance, gunned them down from close range. The deceased have been identified as Paban Sharma, Mahesh Shah and his son Jogesh Shah.

The DC said it was suspected that the KLNLF militants had demanded “tax” from the three victims and killed them for non-payment of the extortion money. He said it was not a case of targeted killing of the Hindi-speaking by the outfit and appeared to be an incident of extortion.

Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, along with the DC and senior police officials, visited the family members and promised ex-gratia of Rs.3 lakh and paid Rs.15,000 to the next of kin of each of the victims for the funeral. The State government has beefed up security measures for smooth celebration of Chhat puja of Hindi-speaking settlers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, beginning on Tuesday.

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