Militants of the banned National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) gunned down at least 19 people — mostly Hindi-speaking and two of them women — in six coordinated attacks on Monday.
The near-simultaneous attacks in two northern Assam districts followed the death of a hardcore NDFB activist, Mohan Basumatary, in an encounter on Monday at Batasipur village in north-central Assam’s Sonitpur district.
Earlier on November 1, the NDFB warned that it would “kill 20 Indians for every Bodo person killed”.
The first strike on Monday was around 5.45 pm on a bus travelling from Tezpur, 185 km northeast of Guwahati, to Seijosa in Arunachal Pradesh.
The militants stopped the bus, carrying 25 passengers, at Boimora, separated eight Hindi-speaking males from the rest, lined them up and shot them.
Militants in the northeast regard the Hindi-speaking people and other “mainland Indians” as the central government’s representatives.
“The bus was stopped near a dense forest. All the victims were employees of the Arunachal Pradesh government,” said Assam DGP Sankar Barua.
Arunachal chief minister Dorjee Khandu said he would take up with Assam CM Gogoi the issue of safety of people travelling to and from his state.
Almost simultaneously, NDFB militants fired at random at people gathered near Dhekiajuli railway station in Sonitpur district, killing five persons — two Hindi-speaking and a woman among them — and left two others hurt.
The militants also struck at Kekerukuchi village in north-central Assam’s Baksa district and killed one Mohan Das. The fourth attack killed a woman at Hugrajuli in Sonitpur district.
Four more persons were killed in two separate attacks in Udalguri district in northern Assam and Karbi Anglong district in central Assam.
“We condemn these cowardly attacks,” said Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, promising action against the killers. He said the killings could pollute the ‘atmosphere of peace’, following the capture of several front-ranking militant leaders.
The top guns currently behind bars include NDFB chairman Ranjan Daimary, accused in the October 30, 2008 serial blasts that killed 92 persons.
On November 1, the NDFB has warned that it would "kill 20 Indians for every Bodo person killed".
Two women were among the 19 killed