Death toll rises to 27 in Assam attacks

Guwahati, May 3 :

Seven more bodies were recovered Saturday from violence-hit areas of Assam, taking the death toll to 27 as curfew continued in three Bodo-majority districts, officials said.

Curfew has been imposed in Kokrajhar, Baksa and Chirang districts after the violence broke out Thursday night and shoot-at-sight orders issued to bring the situation under control.

“Today (Saturday) morning, seven bodies were recovered from Salbari area in Baksa district,” Home Commissioner G.D. Tripathy told IANS.

“Armed assailants belonging to the NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) anti-talk faction attacked two villages in Salbari area near the Manas National Park. Seven bodies have been recovered Friday night, seven more were recovered today (Saturday) morning,” he said.

The victims included women and children, the home commissioner added.

“The situation appears normal as of now as there has not been any fresh incident of violence since yesterday (Friday) evening,” said Tripathy.

He said 10 companies of central paramilitary forces have arrived in the state and the army was assisting police in containing the situation. The army had carried out flag march in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts.

Violence erupted in the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) Thursday night when armed NDFB cadres opened indiscriminate fire in two villages, killing five people. The second attack took place in Kokrajhar district Friday that left eight people, including children, dead.

The violence has also led people abandoning their homes and taking shelter in relief camps set up by district administrations. There were also reports that the militants had torched several homes.

The figures could go up as some people in the area are still missing, said a senior police officer.

There were conflicting views on what caused the violence.

Police suspect the attacks were in retaliation for the ongoing anti-insurgency operation by the security forces in the BTAD region, where some NDFB militants have been killed recently.

However, media reports Saturday said the violence could be linked to the voting pattern in the general elections.

In one of the worst riots between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers in BTAD in 2012, over 100 people were killed and more than four lakh were displaced.


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