March 27: The Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) struck for the second time today in four days, gunning down six persons and torching 50 houses in a pre-dawn raid on a cluster of Karbi villages in Bokajan subdivision of Karbi Anglong district.
The death count in this fresh round of bloodletting, that got under way on Wednesday with the massacre of 34 Karbi villagers in Delai Kaliajan, 30 km from Diphu, has now gone up to 40.
The mayhem took place within 48 hours of the warning issued by the anti-talks faction of the United Peoples’ Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) to wipe out “Kuki militants” from the hill district within a week. Even the pro-talks faction had yesterday threatened to take up arms if the KRA did not mend its ways.
Sources said minister of state for home Rockybul Hussain reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting with top police officials in Dispur. He ordered a crackdown on those who are involved in the bloodletting and are fanning it.
Inspector-general of police (law and order) D.K. Pathak rushed to Diphu to take stock of the situation. Assam governor Lt Gen. (retd) Ajai Singh had visited the site yesterday and chief minister Tarun Gogoi the day before.
Sources said a 70-member KRA team carrying sophisticated weapons came in two ginger-loaded trucks in the wee hours today and fired on the sleeping villagers. They fled in the trucks, which were later found abandoned.
The marauders divided themselves into two groups. One of the groups entered the village and the other stayed at the daily bazar and started torching the dwellings. Five of the victims were identified as Asat Kathar, Lingdok Ingti, Raju William, Prafulla Patar and Chandra Bahadur Lama. The last two were shopkeepers.
More than a dozen people were injured, two of them critically. They were rushed to the Diphu civil hospital.
While 21 houses were burnt in Daikru, Teron, one hut was set on fire in Bura Sighnar, eight in Dhansing Kathar, seven in Nabin Tisso and 13 in Kathar Chandra Ingti.
As news of the fresh mayhem spread, Karbi villagers from the interior areas of Bokajan — like Hidipi, Deupani and Dilai — rushed to the relief camps. Till yesterday, 1,818 Karbi villagers were in the two relief camps at Dilai and Rongplun Clim.
Today’s incident was the fourth in the past 10 days. The ethnic clashes, which started on October 27 last year, was renewed on March 17 when the KRA militants killed three Nepali wage-earners at Phailong, near Singhasan hill. This was followed by the killing of six Kukis in Thongbong by militants belonging to the anti-talks faction of the UPDS.
The Kuki National Assembly (KNA) has alleged that no ration has been provided to the 130 Kuki families living in the Manja relief camp since December last year.