Guwahati: The death toll today climbed to 53 in the series of attacks by suspected Bodo militants belonging to NDFB-S faction in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts of Assam while the Centre was rushing additional forces to the state.
30 people were killed in Maitalu bustee and six in Junglee bustee in Sonitpur district when heavily armed militants belonging to the Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) attacked the ‘adivasis’ yesterday, Sonitpur SP Sanjukta Parashar said.
Five persons were killed in Pakhiriguri and 12 others at Ultapani in the attacks in Kokrajhar district, Kokrajhar Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar said.
Curfew has been clamped since last night in areas under four police stations in Sonitpur district, Assam Police spokesperson Rajiv Saikia said.
The latest incidents of violence occurred very near to the inter-state border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh, who will be going to Assam later in the day, said he has been briefed about the situation by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and necessary action will be taken by the Centre.
“I will travel to Assam today and review the sitation there. Whatever action is required, we will take,” he told reporters in Delhi.
The Centre is mobilising 50 companies (5000 personnel) of central forces at the request of Assam, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said.
“It is unfortunate that this kind of violence has taken place when we have already sent a message that violence and development cannot go together,” he said.
Gogoi said he has directed senior ministers Nilamani Sen Deka and Basanta Das to go Kokrajhar district and Rockybul Hussain, Prithbi Majhi and Tanka Bahadur Rai to visit Sonitpur district.
The Chief Minister said the security forces and local authorities have been directed to ensure that the violence does not spread and to prevent any backlash.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condemned the killing of innocent people as an act of cowardice and also spoke to Gogoi. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased,” he tweeted last night.
The Cabinet today paid homage to victims of the “cowardly” attacks on ‘adivasis’ in Assam. .
Gogoi said that the majority of victims were women and children and his government’s priority was not to let the situation escalate.
“Most barbaric and most henious crime these NDFB(S) group has committed. We have to deal with it firmly.
“We have to go in a big way so that the culprits are booked,” the Chief Minister said, adding that the security agencies have been directed to provide protection to the people in “sensitive” areas, including those inhabited by Bodos.
He said the militants will no longer be allowed to “hit and run” and the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have assured him all help.
“Neither the Government of Assam nor the Government of India will surrender to these militant groups. That’s why we are asking for more paramilitary forces from the government of India,” Gogoi said.
“Yesterday, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister assured me of all help,” he said.
Condemning the attacks, Rijiju said, “This is a blatant attack in a situation where it is not expected. The attack is on innocent people and the location of the attack in very remote and rural area.”
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