13 killed, 18 injured in militant attack in Kokrajhar; All DCs, SPs put on high alert
BY OUR BUREAU
KOKRAJHAR/GUWAHATI, Aug 5: In the State’s worst terror attack since 2014, gunmen in military fatigues opened fire at a crowded market in Kokrajhar town on Friday, killing 13 civilians and injuring 18 others. One of the attackers was also killed.
The dastardly attack raised the security threat perception manifold before the Independence Day in the State. But the picture is yet to be cleared which group actually carried out the attack. Police claimed the hands of the NDFB-S, but the rebel group out rightly denied its involvement.
Heavily armed ultras on Friday stormed the Balajan Tili Weekly Market here, killing 13 people including two women. The injured were admitted to a Kokrajhar hospital and later referred to Guwahati and Barpeta hospitals.
According to eyewitnesses, 4/5 militants open fired at the crowd in the market around 11.15 am. The militants also lobbed gredes at three shops. At least six shops were gutted after the grede blast. Fire tenders later doused the flame.
ADGP (BTC) LR Bishnoi confirmed that 13 civilians including two women were killed and one militant was gunned down. He said of those killed in the attack includes 6 Bodos, 4 Muslims, 3 from th, Adivasi and Bengali communities. “The gunmen came on an auto van from Simbargaon area and stopped the vehicle at the market, and started firing indiscrimitely,” he added.
One AK-57, 2 magazines, one grede, 47 rounds of ammunition, 3 bags with clothes, one mobile and 2 SIM cards were recovered from the possession of the slain militants.
Bishnoi informed that the mobile SIMs recovered were earlier used by NDFB-S leader Mada, a self-styled commander of the outfit. He said the attack was carried out by the militant group with a view to create terror among the people for extortion and also to divert the attention of security forces from the on-going operation against the rebel group.
He further said security forces yesterday morning carried out an operation along the Indo-Bhutan border areas.
Authorities, however, blamed the “anti-talk faction” of the tiol Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) led by IK Songbijit, who carries a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, for the massacre.
“The army has launched a massive combing operation, pressing into service specialized troops and tracker dogs. The army will continue its relentless operations against the terrorists,” added security sources.
Leaders of various parties and organizations including BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary, Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the hospital and talked to the injured and promised all help.
The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) president Pramod Boro, the spokesman of the United Bodo People’s Organization (UBPO), the Bodoland Students’ Union (BSU), the Kokrajhar Primary Bodo Sahitya Sabha and others have vehemently condemned the attack on innocent public and demanded immediate action against those involved.
State Fince Minister Sarma who visited the spot said as per prima facie evidence available on the ground indicated the involvement of the NDFB-S, but it is yet to be confirmed.
The mes of the injured persons are Usha th (65), Manju Singh (48), Bhim Bahadur Chettry (36), Kumuruddin Ali (28), Cornel Debth (28), Sunil zary (35), Huthai rzary (6), Zarif Ali Sheikh (40), Sridam Debth (36), Someswar Brahma (60), Jayanta Mandal (20), Siden Tudu (50), Lonkeswar Barman (35), Nilakantha th (32).