Assam Live: Security forces, NDFB(S) encounter in Chirang along India-Bhutan border

After brutal killing of 62 in Assam by suspected militants, CM Tarun Gogoi said that they were working to ensure the situation didn't worsen.

hidden December 26, 2014 16:57:56 IST
Assam Live: Security forces, NDFB(S) encounter in Chirang along India-Bhutan border

4.30 pm: Assam CM to chair Unified Command meet

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will head a Unified Command meeting at Koinadhora, his official residence, this evening to review the security situation of the state in view of the recent carnage carried out by NDFB(S) militants killing over 80 people. The meeting is likely to be attended by senior army, CRPF, IB, state police and home ministry officials.

According to Newslive, a major offensive has also been planned in mid-January that would be simultaneously carried out in Assam, Nagaland and Bhutan. The state government has also increased the reward amount on information regarding the whereabouts of the NDFB(S) top brass by four times to Rs 20 lakh.

3.30 pm: SSB, NDFB(S) encounter in Chirang district

Troops of the Sashastra Seema Bal and NDFB(S) are engaged in an encounter in Assam's Chirang district along the Indo-Bhutan Border. According to a regional news channel Newslive, grenade blasts have been heard but there are no reports of casualty as yet.

2.15 pm: Death toll rises to 81

Operations were intensified against NDFB(S) militants on Friday along the border with Arunachal Pradesh even as the death toll in the massacre rose to 81.

Normal life was, meanwhile, disrupted by a bandh called by several organisations in Assam.

Two persons, one each in Sonitpur and Chirang, injured in Tuesday's attack by NDFB(S) militants succumbed to their injuries last night, while a charred body was recovered from Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district on Friday morning, a police spokespersons said today.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Villagers block roads after 81 were killed in Assam. AFP

A day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh made it clear that there will be no talks with terrorists and "zero-tolerance policy towards acts of terror", operations by security forces have been intensified along Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Sonitpur district, which bore the brunt of NDFB's attack.

A defence spokesperson said troops along with the police and paramilitary forces had intensified counter-insurgency operations along the border with the neighbouring state to flush out militants and smash their hideouts.

Aerial surveillance of the area was also carried out by Army Aviation Helicopter sorties, he said.

Army was also extending full support to the civil administration to instill confidence among the affected people and restore peace.

Meanwhile, a 12-hour bandh called by the All Assam Adivasi Students' Association (AAASA), Assam Tea Tribes Students Association (ATTSA) and Asom Yuva Parishad (AYP) disrupted normal life across the state.

The bandh was total in the affected districts of Sonitpur, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Udalguri and Baksa along with tea garden dominated districts of Jorhat, Golaghat, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia in Upper Assam.

Meanwhile, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded as a large number of adivasis today blocked roads in different areas of the district in protest against the massacre of adivasis by suspected NDFB(S) militants in Assam.

The agitators under the banner of 'Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan' blocked the Malda-Balurghat road near 20 Mile and also Gajol Bamungola road near Badnagra from 9 am.

"The blockades have been continuing despite repeated appeals by the district administration to lift them as hundreds of vehicles remain stranded," Gajol Block Development Officer Sauvik Mukherjee said.

The agitators are also demanding compensation to families of the victims and safety for others, Mukherjee said.

The organisation had blocked trains in Malda town for nearly six hours on Thursday. -- PTI

1.20 pm: Will intensify operation in Assam, says Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh

Army is going to intensify its operations against the NDFB militants, who carried out a deadly attack on tribals in Assam leaving more than 70 people dead.

"We are definitely going to intensify our operations in Assam," Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag told reporters here after a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag. PTI

The Home Minister, who returned to the national capital last evening after a two-day visit to Assam to take stock of the situation there arising out of the violence perpetrated by the Bodo militant group, discussed the situation in the state with Suhag.

"The meeting was to review the security situation in Assam," the Army Chief said.

Suhag said 66 army columns (70 personnel in each column) have been deployed in Assam for counter insurgency operations.

The GoC of the 4 Corps, located in the worst-hit Sonitpur district, heads the Unified Command which conducts the counter insurgency operations in Assam.

Sources said the Home Minister asked the Army Chief to ensure that peace returns to the violence-hit areas and there is no flare up.

Singh told Suhag that army presence should be increased on the field in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, where there is a presence of NDFB militants.

Sources said the Home Minister is believed to have discussed the issue of coordinated operations with armies of Bhutan and Myanmar against the NDFB which has bases in the two neighbouring countries.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has already spoken to the Bhutan government which assured her of action against terror outfit. Myanmar has also given assurance to flush out terrorists from their territories.

Suhag told Singh that local Army commanders have been directed to ensure peace and bring confidence among common people, the sources said. -- PTI

1.14 pm: Centre failed to perceive grim situation, says Shiv Sena

In the wake of the massacre of tribals in Assam by a Bodo group, the Shiv Sena on Friday hit out at the Centre saying that it has till date failed to understand the grim situation in the north-eastern state.

The Sena also said that the issue of violence in Assam, that has continued over several decades, will get resolved only when there is no disparity regarding justice (handling security issues) in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

A villager stands by a burning house which belonged to the Bodo tribesmen. Retaliatory attacks flared up in a few Assam villages on Ffriday. Reuters

The death toll in the recent carnage by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S) and retaliatory violence by tribals in Assam has gone up to 78.

"For last many years, violence and illegal infiltration are prevalent in Assam, but those sitting in Delhi have till date failed to understand the grim situation there. It is important that we give more importance to Assam than Jammu and Kashmir,"an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' on Friday said.

"Nobody cares about the troubles brewing in the state (Assam) and no one feels the pinch of the mass killings happening there...the day when the disparity in justice meted out to Jammu and Kashmir and Assam will start ending, the problems in Assam will stop," it said.

Political parties, for electoral gains, have turned a blind eye to the infiltrations by Bangladeshis, and as a result an important state like Assam is slipping from India's hands, the Sena said.

"The struggles in Assam are on since 1971. But, no one has been able to find a solution to the problems of the people staying there. Everybody has their own political selfishness. Everybody wants to win elections with the vote bank of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators. It is surprising that no one feels regretful about it," the editorial further said. -- PTI

10.19 am: Rajnath Singh calls on Army Chief to discuss situation

According to reports in TV, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met with Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on Friday to discuss the situation in Assam. General Suhag speaking to the media said that the meeting with Rajnath Singh was to discuss the ground situation in Assam and how to intensify operations against the militants.

While the paramilitary forces are stationed in the affected districts of Kokrajhar and Sonitpur, Centre has also deployed 4-Corps to assist others in ongoing operations in Assam after a ghastly sectarian bloodshed by Bodo militants left 78 people dead.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

The Centre has promised a zero-tolerance to National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), led by its self-styled commander IK Songbijit (NDFB-S). The forces will launch operations to flush out NDFB(S) cadre who are reportedly hiding in Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, curfew in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur has been relaxed till 7pm on Friday.

Talking tough, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday had declared strong action against NDFB(S) asserting that the Centre has "zero tolerance" policy for such "crafted terror".

"We will take strong measures to deal with the outfit and will control it effectively," he told reporters at Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district during his visit to review the situation in Assam, which has been rocked by the bloodbath by Bodo militants and retaliatory violence by Adivasis.

Asked about operations against the outfit, the Union minister said, "Operations will definitely be launched against the outfit but cannot say when".

"The killings by NDFB(S) is not an ordinary act of violence by a militant outfit, but an act of crafted terror and we will deal with it accordingly," Singh said.

"The Centre has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against all acts of terror and the similar policy will be adopted in this case too," he said.

Singh said he held talks with the state government on issues related to border and area development of the affected areas.

Reports also said that Rajnath Singh has requested Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to initiate talks with Myanmar and Bhutan. The militants had reportedly fled to either of the countries after the massacre.

Last updated on 24th December

8 pm: NDFB(S) attacks new areas in Udalguri

As per latest reports on PTI, NDFB(S) has attacked new areas in Assam.

"The militants have opened fire and burns houses in Udalguri district," said district police superintendent Bir Bikram Gogoi.

6.15 pm: Four killed in ongoing clashes in Sonitpur district

The death toll has climbed up to 72 by Wednesday evening after clashes in Sonitpur district claimed 4 more lives.

Television channels flashed footage from the affected villages where tribals were protesting against the Tuesday massacre. Tribals burnt tyres and blocked national highway while another set of angry protesters also burnt down a few homes.

According to the media in Assam, officials were nowhere to be seen since last evening when the killings happened. Condition on ground zero was so bad that in the absence of  ambulances and paramedics villagers had to carry the dead bodies themselves.

Angry protesters blocked roads and national highway and demanded that the CM and the government do more than just pay them money.

Even Twitterati could not help but notice how the Assam killings did not get enough traction as other such attacks in the past have. Television channels and politicians do not care much about the Northeast, was Twitterati's verdict.

3.54 pm: PM Modi sanctions Rs 2 lakh each for kin of deceased

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thuesday expressed grief over loss of lives in Assam militant attacks and sanctioned ex-gratia relief of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to each of the seriously injured.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

PM Narendra Modi. AP

An amount of Rs 86 lakh is being released to the state government from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF), a PMO statement said.

"The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the militant attacks on tribals in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts of Assam," it said.

Speaking to Times Now, minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said that the Union Home Minister will be at ground zero to take stock of the situation. But the minister also added that the problem with the Northeastern state is much bigger than just this attack.

The Union Cabinet today paid homage to victims of the "cowardly" attacks on civilians by militant groups in Assam.

The Cabinet, which met this morning under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, paid homage to the victims of the cowardly attacks in Assam on Tuesday evening.

"All members of the Cabinet members observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect to the victims," Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said at the cabinet briefing here.

"PM Narendra Modi wants to focus on overall development of the Northeast. Development and terror do not go hand in hand. So we are very strict about action against the perpetrators of the Assam massacre," Rijiju said.

3.37 pm: Tarun Gogoi says death toll has risen to 65

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi says that the death toll has risen to 65.

He said, "Government will deal with NDFB(S) firmly."

Meanwhile Rajnath Singh said, "Assam violence is an act of terror and we will deal with it accordingly."

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Even as Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that steps were being taken to prevent the situation from escalating, violent protests by Adivasis erupted against the killings.

Police opened fire as angry protestors turned violent in Dhekiajuli of Sonitpur district, a senior police official said.

The protestors, armed with bow and arrows, were marching towards the police station in Dhekajuli town and despite repeated appeal by police to stop, they marched on and attempted to storm the police station, he said.

Police initially attempted to disperse the protestors by resorting to lathicharge, but opened fire when the situation worsened, the official said.

Three persons were killed and several others injured in police action, he said.

Angry protestors also set ablaze twenty houses allegedly belonging to the people of the Bodo community in Phuloguriin Sonitpur district.

2.57 pm: Four injured in another NDFB (S) attack in Lalabari village

According to Newslive, NDFB (S) militants launched another attack, injuring four in Assam's Lalabari village in Sonitpur district.

Meanwhile, a curfew has been imposed along with shoot at sight orders in Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district.

CPI(M) too on Wednesday strongly condemned the attacks by militants in Assam's Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts and said all democratic forces should unitedly counter such reactionary "ethnic chauvinism".

Calling for firm action from the state as well as central Government to curb and dismantle the NDFB extremist group, the politburo of the party said that steps should be taken to provide adequate compensation to the families of those killed and rehabilitation measures.

3.30 pm: Tribal oranisation condemn attack, demand ST status

Tribal Organisations on Thursday strongly condemned the killing of innocent Adivasis in Assam by suspected Bodo militants and demanded immediate steps to accord the tribals Schedule Tribe status.

"We strongly condemn the brutal killing of innocent Adivasis by Bodo militants in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts of Assam yesterday," Adivasi Sengel (Empowerment) Abhiyan (ASA) said after holding an emergency meeting here.

ASA President, Salkhan Murmu demanded according ST status to the Adivasis, immediate compensation of Rs 10 lakh to each victim family, their proper rehabilitation and adequate security.

2.50 pm: Govt offers Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for kin of those who died

The Assam government has announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for next of kin those who died in the attack on tribals last night, says a government official.

2.27 pm: Death toll now 64

Police said that the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) attack on civilians in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts have left 64 dead, according to latest reports.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, as many as 37 people were shot to death in Sonitpur and 27 in Kokrajhar. Unconfirmed reports say more than 75 people had died.

More than 80 people were injured and 250 are missing. Of the dead, at least 18 were children and 23 women.

"The death toll is likely to go up with more bodies being recovered," said Assam police spokesperson Rajib Saikia on Wednesday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemning the attacks on tribals in Assam's Sonitpur and Kokrajhar at a press conference said that Centre has deployed 50 Central Armed Forces for the affected areas. The home minister is scheduled to arrive at Assam on Wednesday around 4pm.

1.52 pm: Priority to maintain peace, says Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi

In his first address to the media since the Assam attack, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi urged the people of the affected districts to maintain peace and calm.

"Even certain sections of Bodos have condemned these attacks," said the chief minister adding, "Centre has assured more paramilitary forces to control the situation."

The CM added that Sonitpur district was the worst affected where mostly women and children were killed. "What could be the reason for such ghastly attack? Why would someone kill children and women? Our priority right now is to make sure that the clashes don't escalate."

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Protesting tribals clash with the police at Baghmari village in Sonitpur district. AFP

1.35 pm: Arunachal Pradesh sounds high alert after Assam violence

Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday sounded a high alert after a series of attacks by suspected NDFB(S) militants at Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts of neighboring Assam.

Besides, the home department has issued directives to the deputy commissioner and SPs of all the districts bordering Assam to keep a strict vigil on possibility of ultras sneaking into the state's territory after the massacre, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki told reporters here.

"All the available paramilitary forces have also beeninstructed by the department to conduct patrolling along the border areas," he said.

Condemning the incident, Tuki expressed solidarity with the families who lost their near and dear ones.

Referring to the directives of the chief secretary and DGP to seal the border and advising people not to visit Assam because of the volatile situation, Tuki said the directive was issued for a brief period so that people travelling to the neighbouring state would not face harassment.

DGP S Nithyanandam said instructions had been given to all DCs and SPs to prevent entry of anti-social elements in the state. Rigorous checking of inner line permits (IPL) had also been ordered and carrying of any licenced arms has also been prohibited in the state.

The ILP is required for entering Arunachal Pradesh, as it comes under the restricted area category, sharing its border with China, Myanmar and Myanmar.

12.32 pm: Cops and tribals clash as toll goes up to 62

Firing was reported in Sonitpur district of Assam after tribals clashed with policemen on Wednesday. Instead of handling the situation with care, the police reportedly fired at the protesting tribals in Sonitpur district.

According to Times Now, the situation in the affected villages is tense and precarious. With 62 tribals dead, according to latest reports, angry tribals were protesting against the police and administration.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. PTI

Reports also added that the toll in Assam may rise as many were seriously wounded and admitted in the state hospital.

According to the Times Now report, angry villagers vented their anger on Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. One villager said that after every attack a compensation is declared. "We will not tolerate this any more. We want our people back."

Another villager said she and her family were tired of moving from one village to another. More than 80 have been injured so far in the brutal attacks which happened on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi condemned the attack on tribals by militant groups in Assam, PTI reported.

"Killing of innocent people in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar is an act of cowardice and is totally unacceptable," Sonia Gandhi said in a statement.

Expressing deep empathy with the families of people killed in the violence on Tuesday, Gandhi hoped that all possible steps were being taken by the government to provide relief and instill confidence amongst the victims of this tragedy.

Rahul also condemned the "brutal killings" in Assam.

"I strongly condemn the brutal killings in Assam. Such barbaric violence has no justification and no place in our society. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of those who were killed in these attacks," he said in a statement.

12.12 pm: Tribals kill 4 Bodo militants, set homes on fire

In a  backlash after ruthless killings of adivasis in Assam's Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts, tribals killed four Bodo militants in Chirang district on Wednesday.

Headlines Today reported that after Tuesday's bloodbath angry tribals set fire to homes of militants and killed four Bodos.

Union Home Minister is expected in Assam at around 4 pm. PTI also reported that the Centre is rushing an additional 5,000 paramilitary troops to Assam.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who will be travelling to Assam today, said he has been briefed on the situation by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the Centre would take whatever action is necessary.

"This is a blatant attack in a situation where it is not expected. The attack is on innocent people and the location of the attack in very remote and rural area," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said.

The Minister said that the Assam government has requested the Centre to provide 50 companies of central forces which are being "mobilised" and will be "immediately done".

One company of these forces has about 100 personnel.

Rijiju said that he along with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to the state in the afternoon after meeting top officials of paramilitary forces and the security establishment here.

"I would like to say that this is very unfortunate that this kind of violence has taken place. We have already sent a message that violence and development cannot go together.

"If we want to develop North-East, peace must prevail. Peace and development are inseparable elements," he said.

Rijiju said security forces are already doing their job in the troubled areas.

11.55 am: Militants came on foot, asked for water and started shooting, say villagers

A report in Reuters quoted the villagers as saying that the rebels came on foot, armed with assault rifles and wearing military uniforms.

"The militants first came and asked for water. Suddenly they opened fire with their AK-47 rifles,” a witness, who fled into jungle, later told reporters.

The guerrillas say they are fighting for a separate homeland for indigenous Bodo people. They complain that the tea-growing state has been flooded with outsiders.

Security forces launched a campaign last month against the rebels in their remote hideouts, prompting a threat from them to target settlers.

"They didn't even spare women and children," said a police officer.

The single hospital in Sonitpur was crowded with scores of people with gunshot wounds.

10.47am: Curfew imposed after toll rises to 55; Rajnath to visit Assam

Indefinite curfew was clamped in the area lying under four police stations of Sonitpur district.

Militants killed atleast 55 people on Tuesday in Assam's Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts.

Speaking to the press, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he will be leaving for Assam at around 4pm to take stock of the situation.

"I will leave around 4 pm for Assam. The government condemns the brutal and cowardly attacks," Rajnath Singh said.

"#PresidentMukherjee strongly condemns killings in Assam, says such acts of terror and violence must be put down with a firm hand," said the President's office tweeter handle.

Report in India Today said Rahul Gandhi condemned the killings in Assam and said, "Such barbaric violence has no justification and no place in our society."

"Indefinite curfew has been clamped in the areas in the jurisdiction of Dhekiajuli, Thelamara, Rangapara and Biswanath Chariali police stations," Deputy Commissioner of Sonitpur district, Lalit Gogoi said.

Assam Live Security forces NDFBS encounter in Chirang along IndiaBhutan border

An woman injured in Tuesday's attack. PTI image

According to CNN-IBN, a red alert has also been sounded on the Indo-Bhutan international border after the killing.

In five attacks in the span of an hour, Bodo militants gunned down men, women and children with AK-47 rifles.

Tuesday's attacks in four places by militants of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland within the space of an hour were the deadliest in months.

9:00 am: Working to ensure situation doesn't worsen, says Assam CM

A day after the brutal killing of 45 people in Assam in multiple attacks by suspected militants, the state's Chief Minister said that they were working to ensure the situation didn't worsen in the state.

"It is a most heinous crime committed by the NDFB(S)," Gogoi told CNN-IBN

The Chief Minister said that the state government has instructed Army, paramilitary forces and police to take all possible action on the matter.

"We are taking the matter very seriously and our whole idea is to see that the situation doesn't deteriorate further and lead to clashes between the two communities," he said.

Gogoi said that there were multiple groups trying to create problems in the state and though they had been trying to prevent such incidents they had failed in this case.

Additional paramilitary personnel were rushed by Union home ministry to Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts of Assam. The Prime Minister has condemned the attack and termed it an act of cowardice.

Home ministry sources said it has sought a report from the state government on the series of attacks by the militants.

They said Home Minister Rajnath Singh is constantly monitoring the situation in the places of the attacks.

Rajnath Singh spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and offered him all assistance to deal with the situation arising out of the massacre.

7:00 am: Militants kill 45 people in Assam, PM Modi calls it an act of cowardice

A total of 45 people, including four women, were killed and 10 others injured in a series of attacks by suspected NDFB (Songbijit) militants at four places in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts of Assam.

Most of the dead are suspected to be tribals.

Three more people are believed to have been killed in Kokrajhar but police are yet to recover the bodies from the remote place.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the acts and called it as "an act of cowardice". Finance minister Arun Jaitley and BJP unit in Assam tweeted their condolences for those who died in the brutal attack.

A spokesperson of Assam Police, speaking to the media, said 30 persons were gunned down in Sonitpur district alone, while four were killed in Kokrajhar on Tuesday evening.

"In Sonitpur district, 30 people have been killed. While 24 were gunned down in Biswanath Chariali, six were killed in Dhekiajuli," the spokesperson told PTI in Guwahati.

In Kokrajhar district, four deaths were confirmed at Pakhiriguri, while three more were suspected to have been killed in the interiors of Ultapani, he said.

"All these people were killed in serial attacks by suspected militants of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) (Songbijit)," the official said.

Home ministry sources said it has sought a report from the state government on the series of attacks by the militants.

They said Home Minister Rajnath Singh is constantly monitoring the situation in the places of the attacks.

Rajnath Singh spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and offered him all assistance to deal with the situation arising out of the massacre.

He asked Gogoi to firmly deal with the situation.

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