| Charred remains of a hut at Gaijon in Dima Hasao on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos |
Nagaon, Oct. 16: Suspected militants of the Hills Tiger Force today torched 16 huts in a Dima Hasao village and gunned down an elderly ex-army man for daring to stand in their way.
The Dimasa-dominated Nobdi Daologupu, popularly known as Gaijon, is just 14km from Chota Langren, the village that the outfit attacked last Friday.
Villagers said a group of 25-30 militants, armed with AK-series rifles and hand-made guns, barged into the village around 4am today.
Brandishing their guns, the rebels instructed the villagers to come out.
Thaisring Daulogupu, the 70-year-old former armyman, came to the door of his hut and asked the men the reason for their strange direction.
He also warned them of dire consequences if they did not leave immediately.
The rebels replied by shooting him down in his front yard.
The group then divided itself into two — one faction firing mercilessly on villagers, who began to flee in fear, and the other torching one hut after the other.
Two women, Joysomoti Nunisa, 80, and Dilota Daologupu, 43, and a 50-year-old farmer, Japan Hojai, were injured in that attack. All the three were admitted to Haflong civil hospital in a critical condition.
Preliminary investigation by police revealed that eight militants of the Hills Tiger Force, in conjunction with a few villagers near Misidui, were behind the attack.
“We arrested six Misidui youths, who during interrogation confessed to their involvement in the attack. The six youths said the Hills Tiger Force cadres had been taking shelter in the area. They, accompanied by a section of villagers, carried out the attack,” the Dima Hasao police source said.
The Hills Tiger Force — the outfit of non-Dimasas — launched a series of attacks last Friday in protest against the government’s move to sign a peace pact with the Dimasa militant outfit, Dima Halam Daogah, for a territorial autonomous council.
The rebel group killed senior Dimasa militant leader James Dimasa at Haflong and burnt eight houses in a Dimasa-dominated basti near lower Haflong.
Four Dimasa organisations called a 12-hour bandh on Saturday to protest against Friday’s attack.
A source in the Dima Hasao administration said in addition to the existing 17 companies of security forces, another four companies of troops would reach the district this evening.
“We are stressing on establishing police pickets in the vulnerable areas. Frequency of police patrolling has been increased and round-the-clock search operations are on. Arrangements have been made for villagers who had lost homes in the arson,” the source said.