Guwahati/Nagaon, Dec. 29: Additional police and quick reaction teams rushed to Karbi Anglong district in Assam as arson continued unabated with more houses set afire today.
Four persons have lost their lives in the ethnic conflict that erupted on Friday. All the victims belonging to the Rengma Naga community were suspected to have been killed by Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) militants on Friday.
Additional director-general of Assam police (law and order) A.P. Raut today said three additional companies and two quick reaction teams of Assam police have been sent to the trouble-torn district.
“CRPF personnel and Army troops are also assisting police to bring the situation under control,” he said.
Miscreants accompanied by suspected KPLT militants torched around 20 abandoned houses at a Rengma village in the Borlangso area of the district around 4am today.
The miscreants also fired at a police team that led to an encounter that lasted for about half-an-hour. The militants fled under the cover of heavy fog.
Raut, however, claimed that the situation was gradually “stabilizing”.
He said apart from today’s early morning incident, no further untoward incident was reported.
Curfew continued in the Rengma-dominated Chakihula and Borpathar even today and security arrangements have been beefed up to prevent further untoward incidents.
People of all the 18 Rengma villages in the area had already been shifted to secure shelters.
Lok Sabha member Biren Singh Engti today asked Dispur to take note of the trouble in the hill district as it may deteriorate into ethnic violence.
“I hope chief minister Tarun Gogoi will form a committee of experts which will conduct an in-depth investigation into the causes of the current unrest,” Engti said in a party meeting in Nagaon today.
Trouble started in the district on Friday morning after an armed group of suspected Karbi militants attacked a Rengma village under Santipur police station.
Four persons, three of them women, were gunned down, 14 houses were torched and orange orchards in the village damaged.
The police later rescued a 27-year-old Rengma youth who had suffered bullet injury and admitted him to Diphu civil hospital.
Karbi Anglong superintendent of police M.J. Mahanta said more than 1,500 people of both Karbi and Rengma communities have taken shelter in four relief camps. Several Rengma organisations have blamed the failure of local administration in tackling the situation for the disturbances.
On June 9, suspected KPLT militants forcibly brought heads of all the 18 Rengma villages and urged them to vacate the entire Rengma belt within one month, which prompted the panic-stricken villagers to approach the administration seeking security.
Police said imposition of “tax” on orange cultivation by the KPLT could be one of the reasons for Friday’s violence.
“The four villagers might have been killed after they refused to pay money to the KPLT,” a police source said.
Earlier, there were reports about the KPLT asking Rengma Nagas to leave the area.
May 7: Existence of Rengma Naga Hill Protection Force (RNHPF) comes to light
June 9: KPLT urges Rengma leaders to hand RNHPF cadres over to them. If they fail to comply, the community may have to leave by July 9, Rengma leaders told
July 9: Deadline ends
June 15: Rengma organisations ask administration for protection
Dec. 23: Rengma organisation moves administration fearing imminent attack. Administration allegedly takes no steps
Dec. 27: Four Rengma villagers killed, houses torched, orchards damaged
Dec. 28: 10 houses torched, a man rescued after getting shot