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Six held for planter murder Rahman not target, hint call intercepts

Guwahati, Nov. 14: The Adilur Rahman killing took a new turn today with Assam government sources revealing that telephone intercepts show that Rahman was not the intended target of the killers.

Police today arrested six persons from Nagda, around 1.5km from where the incident took place, in connection with the killing.

They are Jiban Narzary, Nimun Narzary, Augustan Narzary, Firoz Mushahary, Sombaru Basumatary and Samar Basumatary. The police said they have strong reason to believe that they are involved in the killing and some of them have a criminal record.

“It has come to light that the assailants were after the weapon — an automatic carbine — carried by the personal security officer (PSO) and not Rahman. The intercepts reveal the assailants had told their handlers/colleagues that both the driver and the security officer were critically injured and might die. It seems they did not know who was driving the vehicle,” a highly placed source said. Rahman was at the wheel.

They, however, maintained that it was a breakaway faction of the NDFB but were yet to ascertain its identity, even though sources had yesterday indicated that the NDFB (R) was involved in the attack.

The revelations came even as the Ranjan Daimary faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland today denied a hand in the killing.

The sources in Dispur said the attackers did not succeed in their plan as security officer Motilal Tirkey, who is currently undergoing treatment at Tezpur Civil Hospital, responded “valiantly”, forcing the rebels to retreat. Police sources said Tirkey had fired four rounds from his weapon.

Tirkey today told reporters at the hospital that nearly a dozen attackers had fired from a house in the area when their vehicle was passing by. “Mamu sir (Rahman) was driving the vehicle,” Tirkey said and added that he did not recognise the attackers.

The security officer was referred to GMCH but had to be taken back to Tezpur after he started to bleed profusely en route.

Rahman was attacked around 1.30pm yesterday at Harisinga under Itakhola police outpost in Sonitpur district. Passersby informed the police about the incident and the two were subsequently taken to hospital in an ambulance.

The victim’s wife, Afruza, told The Telegraph that she was not aware of any threat to Adilur’s life or of any extortion note that he may have received from militants. “I had spoken to Adilur just half-an-hour before the incident occurred. He was not a person who would go around flaunting guards,” she said.

“We would go around the place on foot. We even constructed a church in the area and would go about distributing rice and other relief material to the people during the floods. I don’t know of any threat. I have to now go back to the tea garden and check if there was any information about such a thing.”

Rahman’s janaza was performed at Guwahati Kabarasthan in Athgaon in the presence of a huge crowd at 9 tonight.

Shaken by the protests that followed the killing, chief minister Tarun Gogoi today promised Rahman’s mother Rubena Rahman that “no stone would be left unturned to apprehend the militants”.

“We have already instituted an inquiry into the killing,” Gogoi said to the victim’s mother over telephone.

Rahman, who was the owner of Mahaluxmi and Tezalpatty tea estates in Itakhola and whose family owns hotel Dynasty, a four-star establishment in Guwahati, was travelling on the road connecting Itakhola to Seijosa in Arunachal Pradesh, when he was attacked.

While Tirkey was admitted to hospital with grievous injuries, Rahman died of his injuries on the way.

Police yesterday had said the NDFB (R) had carried out the killing and that Rahman travelled on the road despite being under threat and the police warning him not to move without protection.

The outfit today said, “This can be the handiwork of a third force with ulterior motives to derail the peace process with the NDFB or some individual for their self-interest. Since the beginning of the unilateral ceasefire, our cadres have been strictly directed to maintain order in society and create a congenial atmosphere for the peace process. If our cadres fail to maintain order, we will take strong action.

“By respecting the unity, integrity and peace among Bodo people in the region we opt for a peace process to resolve the political problems of the Bodos through honourable political discussion,” the statement said.

“Now the peace process is moving towards the right direction and there is no reason for us to involve in such activities. We have been fighting for our people and we will always be with our people to resolve their political problems peacefully and democratically. We appeal to and warn news channels not to blame the NDFB without verifying the truth, which may create confusion and panic,” it said.