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Cop-army operation in BTAD

- Unified Command takes charge in Bodo belt after NDFB-S killing spree

Kokrajhar/Jorhat, Jan. 19: The Assam government will intensify action against the NDFB (Songbijit) in the BTAD by carrying out joint army-police counter-insurgency operations in the aftermath of the sudden spree of killings in the Bodo belt.

Assam parliamentary secretary (home) Atuwa Munda said the decision was taken at a meeting of the Unified Command held in Guwahati today in which the security scenario of the state was reviewed.

On Friday night, five bus passengers were killed and three others injured when suspected NDFB (S) militants indiscriminately fired on them on National Highway 31 (C) near Athiabari Tinali in Kokrajhar and in another incident, Gaur Kundu, 38, a businessman, was killed by unidentified men last evening at Monglajhora bazaar in the district. In Chirang, Iman Ali was killed and four others, including two women, were injured when unidentified men fired upon them at Panbari in Bijni subdivision last evening while Bishon Sarma, a barber, was shot dead at Ambagaon Chowk in Udalguri district by suspected NDFB (S) militants. In adjacent Sonitpur district, militants suspected to be from the same outfit shot at a businessman, 25-year-old Vikram Kumar Rai, and injured him critically, at Batachipur this morning, the police said.

Rai was admitted to Tezpur Kanaklata civil hospital and later shifted to the GMCH for further treatment.

Munda today visited Kokrajhar and held a meeting with top officials of the district’s civil and police administrations at the circuit house. Among those present in the meeting were Kokrajhar additional superintendent of police (security) H. Barman and additional deputy commissioner Babul Saharia. Munda said district administrations of the BTAD have been asked to set up police pickets in areas with non-Bodo populations.

The government has taken a serious view of the incidents and will take tough measures to contain such violence, Munda said, adding that an alert has been sounded across the state in view of intelligence reports that insurgent groups might try to create trouble in the run-up to Republic Day.

The parliamentary secretary said Upper Assam districts have been asked to tighten security and keep a close watch on pockets having Hindi-speaking population as Ulfa (I) may find them “soft targets”.

Kokrajhar at present houses 12 companies of the CRPF, two companies of the BSF and 11 companies of Assam Police Battalion.

Munda is slated to visit Chirang tomorrow to assess the situation in the district.

The All BTC Minority Students Union has called a 24-hour BTAD bandh tomorrow in protest against the violence.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING by PRANAB KUMAR DAS in Tezpur


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