Guwahati, May 13: Assam police today revealed the names of nine militants of the Songbijit faction of the NDFB, who allegedly carried out attacks in three villages of the BTAD, killing at least 46 people, including 22 children.
Director-general of police Khagen Sarma told reporters at the police headquarters here that the nine cadres, identified as Rikha, Romilo, Anon, Yakhab, Laswi, Ranjabaja, Sizo, Fuler and Futhai, had executed plans worked out by the outfit’s chairman I.K. Songbijit, general secretary Swarangra and “commander” B. Bidai. “The militant group was involved in the attacks but we are probing to find out if anyone helped them to carry out the attacks,” he added.
The police have been claiming the involvement of NDFB (S) in the May 1 and 2 attacks on Narayanguri and Khagrabari villages in Baksa district and Balapara in Kokrajhar district while survivors of the violence claimed that former Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) cadres and the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which rules the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) that governs the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), were behind the attacks.
Many organisations alleged that the BPF had used ex-BLT cadres to carry out the attacks in an act of revenge against those who had voted for former Ulfa “commander” Hira Sarania, who had emerged as a strong contender of BPF candidate Chandan Brahma in Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency. Sarania is backed by non-Bodo groups opposing the demand for a Bodoland state.
The police have arrested 27 persons, including forest guards, in connection with the attacks and have launched a hunt for forest official Amiyo Kumar Brahma who was picked up for questioning immediately after the Narayanguri attack on May 2 but was later released. Brahma is absconding. The National Investigation Agency is probing the violence following a request by the state government.
Though Dispur has received the Centre’s pat for its measures to contain the BTAD violence, many fear it might erupt again after declaration of results on May 16.
The DGP said the police had worked out a detailed plan to prevent recurrence of violence. “The vulnerable pockets, having a population of religious, linguistic and ethnic minorities, have been identified for fixed security pickets,” he said.
“The SSB and the BSF have been alerted to ensure that militants do not sneak in through our borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh. Hundred companies of the army have been deployed across the state for smooth counting of votes and to thwart possible post-election violence,” he added.
The Centre will send 31 additional companies of security personnel against a request of 50 companies by Dispur to contain any possible post-result flare-up in the state, especially in the BTAD.
While the state home department had written to the home ministry for additional forces, chief minister Tarun Gogoi had personally written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for 50 additional companies.