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Senior police officer killed in attack
NDFB-S rebels ambush cop team

Tezpur, Jan. 28: A senior police officer was among two killed while five constables were injured as rebels of the anti-talks National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbijit faction) ambushed a patrol at Thalola in the Batachipur area under Dhekiajuli police in Sonitpur district at 8am today.

Sonitpur additional superintendent of police (security) Gulzar Hussain, 37, was rushed to the army’s 152 base hospital in Tezpur, nearly 60km from the site, where doctors declared him brought dead. He had bullet wounds on his head (left temple) and legs.

A police informer was also killed while another was injured.

Thalola is about 20km from Dhekiajuli police station and 165km from Guwahati.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi responded to the development by saying that it was a result of intensified counter-insurgency operations against the outfit. “We will continue to fight terror. It’s very unfortunate and condemnable,” he said, adding that he would make it mandatory for police personnel involved in such operations to wear bullet-proof jackets and helmets.

“Three militants of the NDFB (S) faction were hiding near a school before they opened fire on a police patrol, killing ASP Hussain and another person around 8 this morning,” Sonitpur superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor said.

Hussain is survived by his parents, wife, a four-year-old daughter and a 10-day-old son. He hailed from Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district and had joined the police in February 2004.

The injured constables were identified as Umakanta Bailong, 38, Rubul Borah, 26, Hiraj Bharali, 38, Janak Basumatary, 25, and Pinku Nath, 25. Three of them have been referred to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital from Kanaklata civil hospital, Tezpur.

The injured police informer is under treatment at the civil hospital in Tezpur.

“We were patrolling in a Bolero when the militants attacked us near the school at Thalola,” said Bharali.

Nagaon SP Arabinda Kalita, who was the SP of Sonitpur till a few days back, rushed to Tezpur and met the families of the ASP and constables.

Parasor assured Hussain’s father that action would be taken against the militant group.

Inspector-general of police S.N. Singh said the group attacked the police team while it was returning to its base. He said operations would continue.

A mob later vandalised an office of the NDFB ceasefire group at Dhekiajuli and a cadre of the outfit was beaten up before he was handed over to the police. The mob shouted slogans against the NDFB.

In Tezpur, a procession was taken out from the civil hospital to the police reserve. Section 144 has been imposed in Dhekiajuli from 6 this evening to 6am tomorrow.

The Assam Police Officers’ Association, mourning the demise of a co-officer, said in press statement that Hussain’s dedication, commitment and devotion to the state will always be remembered and his supreme sacrifice inspire officers and jawans.

Bihpuria MLA Bhupen Kumar Borah, from whose constituency the slain officer hailed, said he has secured an assurance from the chief minister to provide all possible assistance to the family, including a government job to the next of kin, to cope with the tragedy. Gogoi, too, said he would extend all possible help.

The All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) burnt the effigy of the NDFB in Lakhimpur and Dhubri in protest against the killing. They also took out a peace rally in the evening in Lakhimpur town. Hussain’s burial will take place tomorrow.