Suspected ULFA (I) militants shoot dead five persons in Assam's Tinsukia; Sarbananda Sonowal condemns incident

Three members of a family were among five persons shot dead by suspected ULFA (Independent) militants, while two others were injured at Kheroni in Assam's Tinsukia district Thursday night, police said.

A group of assailants with sophisticated weapons came to this village near Dhola-Sadiya bridge and called out five-six persons from their house around 8 pm, they said.

They then opened indiscriminate fire upon those people before fleeing under the cover of darkness, a police officer said.

 Suspected ULFA (I) militants shoot dead five persons in Assams Tinsukia; Sarbananda Sonowal condemns incident

File image of Assam police. Reuters

The names of the  deceased are Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subodh Das and Dhananjay Namashudra.

The killings are said to have taken place around 8.55 pm, around 6 km away from the Dhola-Sadiya bridge.

An official press release said, "Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal strongly condemned the killing of innocent people near Dhola in Tinsukia district by unidentified miscreants today evening." Further, Sonowal said that the perpetrators of the crime would be dealt with a firm hand.

The chief minister directed Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta and Minister of State (Power) Topon Kumar Gogoi to immediately proceed to the incident site to take stock of the situation.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, reacting to the incident, said —

Speaking to Firstpost, Keshab Mahanta said, "I am preparing to go to Sadiya. I am now in my constituency in Kaliabor. I have been asked to wait for a while, as authorities are trying to arrange for a helicopter. Otherwise, I will travel by car. The chief minister is personally monitoring the whole situation. He will be able to elaborate on this. We are not going there with a package in mind, but whatever needs to be done, will be done."

The distance between Kaliabor and Sadiya is nearly 400 kilometres.

Condemning the incident, All Assam Students' Union (AASU) general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said, "This kind of violence is not a solution to any problem in society. AASU has always been against violence and killings. We always want a peaceful atmosphere in Assam. We appeal to the people to exercise restraint, so that in the coming days, this incident does not become a basis for more bloodshed, killings and communal violence. It is our responsibility to maintain calm. For the incident that occurred today (Thursday), the onus completely lies with the government. The government has totally failed to give security to the people. I am sure the home department had intelligence about this attack, and yet, they failed to prevent it. Moreover, over the last few days, senior BJP leaders and even ministers in the government made some very provocative statements trying to create a communally tense atmosphere. Yet, the government remained a mute spectator."

Referring to past incidents, he said, "The government failed to act in the Subodh Biswas incident and the incidents that followed in Nagaon and Gauripur. The government has neither arrested the culprits nor punished them. AASU appeals to the government to act against communal forces."

Biswas, the president of the Nikhil Bharat Bengali Udbastu Samannay Samitee, is the main accused in the Silapathar vandalism incident that happened last year in Assam. In September, he was granted bail by the Gauhati High Court after he was arrested from the Bajitpur area of North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal on 22 March.

Reacting to the killings on Thursday, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti president Akhil Gogoi said, "This incident is highly condemnable. We condemn the killers and appeal to the people of Assam to condemn this incident. However, the background to this incident has been created by the Centre. The Centre has unconstitutionally placed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. The BJP and RSS have also given some highly provocative statements in support of the Bill. Many other organisations, with their irresponsible and communally charged statements, are also responsible. We demand an impartial judicial inquiry into this incident. Furthermore, KMSS appeals to all Assamese and Bengali speaking people not to get provoked and maintain good relations with each other."

Both AASU and KMSS are steering the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

With inputs from Simantik Dowerah and PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 02, 2018 01:11:48 IST