Tribal separatists gunned down a woman and injured three people in Assam on Wednesday, continuing their attacks on Hindi speakers and minorities for the third straight day and taking the death toll in the serial strikes to 24, police say.
A police spokesperson said heavily armed militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) early on Wednesday attacked Jamuguri village in Kokrajhar district and opened indiscriminate firing.
"A woman named Kalwa Chauhan died on the spot while three more were injured as NDFB militants sprayed bullets from automatic weapons," a senior police official said. The masked militants, numbering six, came in motorcycles and sped away soon after the attack.
There have been at least 11 separate attacks since Monday evening with NDFB militants launching coordinated strikes, targeting mostly Hindi speakers and people belonging to the minority community.
"There is a definite pattern to the killings with most casualties either Hindi- speaking people or minorities," the police official said.
At least 15 people have been injured in the attacks and they are now admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Gauhati Medical College Hospital.
The NDFB on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attacks and warned of more violent strikes in the next few days.
The attacks came hours after security forces Monday morning gunned down an NDFB militant in Sonitpur district during an encounter.
On Nov 1, the NDFB threatened to kill 20 or more people if any one of their cadres was killed by the security forces in shootouts.
A massive anti-insurgency operation was launched since Monday with army, police and paramilitary troopers conducting raids in NDFB-affected areas in northern and western Assam.
"Army, police and paramilitary forces are conducting specific operations in NDFB pockets," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.
Security forces in the past three months have killed at least 20 NDFB cadres, besides arresting more than 15 militants in separate raids even as the tribal separatist group continues with a series of kidnappings for money.