Chhagolia (Assam-Bengal border), Nov. 19: Assam and Bengal police today claimed that last evening’s attack on a dhaba here, in which four men were killed and seven injured, was a joint operation by KLO and Ulfa militants.
There was, however, no mention of National Democratic Front of Boroland rebels who were included in the list of suspects yesterday.
Circle inspector of Dhubri’s Golokganj Nijamuddin Choudhury said the attack on the truck operators was carried out by three militants and not 12 as was believed yesterday.
Around 25 truck drivers and their helpers were watching the India-Australia match at the dhaba when the militants opened fire.
Three of the dead have been identified as Baban Mondol from Nadia and Prafulla Rai and Ashok Rai from Vaishali in Bihar.
“We are almost certain that last night’s attack was carried out by local Ulfa and KLO militants,” said Assam’s Dhubri district superintendent of police L.R. Bishnoi.
He also confirmed suspicions that yesterday’s raid was linked to the ethnic backlash against Hindi-speaking people in Assam, following attacks on passengers from the Northeast in trains passing through Bihar.
“The militants fled towards Baxirhat in Cooch Behar on the Bengal-Assam border and that is why we need the help of Bengal police,” Bishnoi said.
Choudhury added: “The escape route taken by the assailants went towards Baxirhat in Cooch Behar. From there they can easily wade through the Sankosh river and enter the forests of the Dooars. The road also leads to Kokrajhar in Assam.”
He said that after speaking to eyewitnesses the police had concluded that the trio had come on bicycles from the east.
The district police chief, along with Dhubri collector Prashanta Kumar Barua, Cooch Behar deputy police superintendent David Lepcha and other senior officers, inspected the site today.
Cooch Behar police superintendent S.S. Panda said that besides Baxirhat and Tufanganj police stations which border Assam, other police stations in the district have also been alerted.
Of the seven injured, two have been referred to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital near Siliguri.
Two Ulfa militants were killed today in an encounter with the army in Gaikhowa village under Golokganj police station. Acting on a tip-off that the militants were hiding in the village, the army swooped down and killed the two rebels in a gunbattle that lasted over an hour.