Throats slit, baby burned in ethnic war

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  • Published 17.10.05

Oct. 17: Militants slit the throat of segregated bus passengers and hurled a three-month-old baby into flames in Assam as they slaughtered 35 people in some of the most grisly instances of ethnic turf war in the region.

Extremists suspected to be belonging to the Dimasa tribe stopped two buses, lined up the passengers and picked out people from the rival Karbi tribe for the massacre in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district this dawn.

The assailants in battle fatigues slashed the throats of 23 of the Karbis, including nine women, one by one.

A pile of bodies lay in pools of blood on a road passing through Sarsing village, close to the district headquarters. Inside the village were seven more bodies, three of them charred beyond recognition, and the gutted remains of houses. A little distance away, in a village called Prseck, there were five more victims and another row of flaming houses.

The feud between the Dimasas and Karbis, locked in a long-drawn battle over territorial supremacy, has been bubbling back to the boiling point since the last few days when several houses were torched.

“These horrific images will remain with me till I die,” said a non-Karbi bus passenger.

The highway massacre over, the militants set both vehicles ablaze and entered the village, where they went about setting fire to a cluster of 77 huts. The infant was thrown into the fire here, along with two adults who had put up some resistance. Four more residents were gunned down.

Another group of militants was in the nearby Prseck village around the same time, adding to the body count. The intruders torched 10 houses and threw three residents into the fire. They shot dead two more villagers.