By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 2: Giving a virtual clean chit to NDFB(S) chief IK Songbijit in the December 23 massacre, the Assam Police today med the militant outfit’s second–in–command G Bidai as the mastermind of the killings that has claimed 81 lives so far.
IG (law and order) SN Singh said the massacre was carried out without the consent of Songbijit – who is now reportedly based in Myanmar. “But it was the outfit’s deputy army chief Bidai, who had ordered the killings,” he said.
The massacre was carried out in retaliation of the December 21 encounter with security forces in which two NDFB(S) militants were killed and two other escaped, one of them being Bidai himself. Singh said the Assam Police received information on the possible attacks at 2.34 pm from its own intelligence sources on the day of incident (December 23) and through SMAC (responsible for coorditing intelligence sharing between agencies) at 4 pm.
“We got very little time to respond. But attacks in other probable places were prevented due to deployment of forces. Security forces failed to cover all vulnerable areas,” the IGP claimed, adding that an encounter had also taken place at a village in Kokrajhar due to which a probable massacre in that place was prevented.
He further said the NDFB(S) had a cadre strength of about 100 prior to the massacre, but most of the rebels have now fled the State due to the crackdown on the outfit. About 100 arrests have been made so far in connection with the massacre, of which four are NDFB(S) cadres. Two were directly involved in the attacks, Singh added.
Security arrangements in the affected areas have been tightened further, with fixed pickets (Kokrajhar 29, chirang 9, Sonitpur 26 and Udalguri 15) set up and mobile pickets also been used.
The toll in the massacre has climbed to 81 with recovery of another body in Chirang today. Meanwhile, a special operation group meeting of the Unified Command was held at the headquarters of Red Horn Division at Rangiya today.
All members of the Operatiol Group comprising the Army officers of the Gajraj Corps, senior functiories of the State including DGP Khagen Sarma, Ms LS Changsan, Commissioner & Secretary (Home & Political), senior officers of Assam Police, intelligence agencies, SSB, CRPF, BSF and SPs of Darrang and Baksa attended the meeting.
The meeting was held under the aegis of the Gajraj Corps and was presided over by the GOC Gajraj Corps. The meeting reviewed the overall security situation, recent acts of violence in the State by militant groups and resolved to initiate strong measures against them to bring peace and harmony in the region. GOC Gajraj Corps also directed his field commanders to extend all possible support to the State Administration in bringing back normalcy, while at the same time carry out relentless operations against the perpetrators of terror.
Meanwhile, Assam Police today said the ULFA(I) was now planning an attack in the run–up the Republic Day. “We have identified four districts in Upper Assam and one in Lower Assam as very sensitive in this regard,” the IGP said.