'Lone wolf' named in terror attack

Police today said the attack at the Balajan Tiniali market in Kokrajhar on August 5 was carried out by a lone wolf who was also "heavily drunk" at the time.

By Preetam Brahma Choudhury in Kokrajhar
  • Published 10.08.16
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Members of BPF stage a protest in Kokrajhar on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Kokrajhar, Aug. 9: Police today said the attack at the Balajan Tiniali market in Kokrajhar on August 5 was carried out by a lone wolf who was also "heavily drunk" at the time.

The assailant was identified as Monjoy Islari alias Mwdhan, commanding officer of the NDFB (Songbijit)'s 16 battalion. The Kokrajhar superintendent of police, Shyamal Prasad Saikia, said though the assailant was a member of the NDFB (S), he had acted in an individual capacity and no group was involved in the attack that left 14 dead and 17 others injured.

Addressing a peace meet at the deputy commissioner's conference hall here this afternoon, Saikia said, "He was heavily drunk and fired indiscriminately at the market before he was gunned down."

Dispur had so far said the NDFB (S) was behind the attack, while the outfit had denied its involvement.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh, while making a statement on the attack in Parliament yesterday, had not named any group.

It was also believed that multiple militants had carried out the attack.

The peace meeting, chaired by the Kokrajhar deputy commissioner, M.P. Sarma, was attended by representatives of political parties and organisations like the All Bodo Students' Union, All Assam Students' Union, All BTC Minority Students' Union, Bodo Students' Union, Bodo Sahitya Sabha, civil society groups and local intellectuals.

The Hindu Yuva Chatra Parishad, Asom, however, today alleged that jihadi elements were responsible for the attack. Talking to reporters in Kokrajhar, the group's state president, Balen Baishya, said jihadi elements and not the NDFB (S), as claimed by the state police, were involved in the attack.

He said the modus operandi and the style of the attack bore the signature of such groups.

Baishya said the assailant's mother had said he was arrested three to four days before the attack. "If he was arrested before the attack, how was his body found there?" he asked.

He also questioned the difference in statements by the home minister and the state police. "When the home minister is still not clear about the group involved, how did the state police, the additional DGP (BTAD) L.R. Bishnoi, come to the conclusion that the NDFB (S) was involved, within a few hours of the attack?" he asked.

He also wondered how the photograph of the suspected gunman was circulated in social media and who took the pictures when the firing was taking place. "It seems like a well-scripted drama," he said.

The Bodoland People's Front (BPF) today staged protests against the attack and the NDFB (S) in the sub-divisional headquarters in the four BTC-administered districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.

Organised by the respective district committees of the party, hundreds of people participated in the protests in the nine sub-divisions.

Talking to reporters at Debargaon in Kokrajhar, BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary said the protests were organised to send a strong warning to anti-social elements to stop killing innocent people.

Mohilary said he would call on the Union home minister and apprise him of the prevailing law and order situation in the BTAD and request him to carry out an operation against the militants.

On the home minister not naming any group, he said, "It could be because the investigation is still on. But we have ample proof of NDFB (S) being involved. The NIA has started its investigation into the case and we are sure it will reveal the role of the Songbijit group."

Stating that the government was ready for negotiations with any militant group, he urged the outfit to come forward for talks.

The All Assam Students' Union, Kokrajhar unit, also staged a demonstration near the deputy commissioner's office protesting against the attack and demanding the safety of the people. The AASU and Absu submitted a joint memorandum to the Union home minister through the deputy commissioner's office, demanding NIA investigation into the attack and enhanced compensation to the victims.