Indefinite night curfew was clamped along the Assam-Meghalaya border after suspected Garo militants gunned down seven persons and injured 9 others in a border village in Assam’s Goalpara district during Diwali celebrations on Sunday.
The gunmen, believed to be members of the Meghalaya-based Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) opposed to a tribal council election, struck around 9 pm at Gendamari village, located 150 km southwest of Guwahati.
The victims were Rabha tribals, for whom the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council was constituted in 1995. “Disrupting the Rabha Hasong elections could be the motive behind the shooting,” said IGP (Law and Order) SN Singh.
Violence had been on in Goalpara district since October 20, when the Congress government announced the election dates. The Garos — who dominate the western half of Meghalaya and have a sizeable population in Assam — and other non-Rabha communities have been opposing the tribal council polls for fear of losing land and other rights.
Earlier this year, the Assam government was forced to cancel the elections following clashes between the Rabhas and Muslims.
Victims of the GNLA shooting are seen at the local hospital in this video grab. ANI