Tezpur, Aug. 5: Two days after attacking small tea planters for their refusal to pay extortion money, a group of militants of the Songbijit faction of the NDFB since yesterday roughed up four private vehicle operators in Sonitpur district for their failure to make payments to the outfit.
A group of three rebels yesterday attacked three private vehicle operators, Nobin Basumatari, 40, Jaiklong Basumatari, 33, and Nabajyoti Bhuyan, 35, at Mainasiri in Urahiloga, about 45km from here. The area falls under Rangapara police station near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
Biplov Rabha, 38, was beaten up by another group of NDFB (S) militants around 9am today at Jogibeel, 55km from here when he was coming from home.
All four were treated at Rangapara hospital for mild injuries.
Sonitpur superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor blamed the NDFB (S) for the attacks.
According to Nobin, a group of militants asked the trio, to stop at Mainasiri and started beating them up with bamboo sticks after an argument over money. “They asked us to cooperate and shell out Rs 5,000 every year,” he said.
“The militants had small arms and grenades. Two of them beat us up while another stood guard,” Nobin said.
On Saturday, eight small tea planters were beaten up by the NDFB (S) militants in the same area. Of them, three are still recuperating at Tezpur Kanaklata civil hospital.
Jaiklong Basumatari alleged that police and security personnel were not patrolling the area regularly. He said this has emboldened the militants.
Parasor told this correspondent that after Saturday’s incident police and security personnel had intensified operations in the border areas. She said additional security personnel were deployed in the area to prevent such attacks.
The SP said the militant outfit operated in small groups and were scattered. “After the incidents they take cover in other places and use motorbikes to flee,” she said.
Reports said the NDFB (S) had started different tactics to collect money ahead of Independence Day.