Assam rebels with a bloody cause: All about NDFB(S)
At least 64 people were killed in Tuesday's attacks by Bodo tribal militants on mostly Christian adivasis along Assam's border with Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.
Though all the victims were Christians – who belonged to the 87 scheduled tribes of central India brought as tea plantation workers 150 years ago but do not enjoy ST status – conflict experts see it more as ethnic cleansing since the killer outfit, National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), is dominated by Bodo tribal Christians.
NDFB(S) has arguably emerged as the most ruthless militant group in the northeast after the now-disbanded Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel) that went on a killing spree across North Cachar Hills district in 2005.
Here are some facts about the group:
Formed in 2012 as a breakaway group of NDFB, NDFB(S) has two more factions – NDFB(RB) led by Ranjan Daimary and the NDFB (pro-talks) led by Dhiren Boro.
Daimary, 54, out on bail after being caught in Bangladesh in May 2010, founded Bodo Security Force in 1986 to fight for a 'sovereign Bodoland'; he renamed outfit NDFB in 1994.
NDFB(S) is led by Songbijit Ingti Kathar, who is a Karbi tribal of south-central Assam fighting for the 'Bodo cause'.
Songbijit's group was linked with the carnage against migrant Muslims in Bodoland in July 2012 and during Lok Sabha elections in April-May this year.
NDFB(S) has strategic alliance with Paresh Barua's United Liberation Front of Asom, Meghalaya-based Achik National Volunteers Council and Kamatapur Liberation Organisation besides the NSCN in Nagaland.
The outfit is believed to have at least 500 armed cadres operating from the jungles straddling Assam's border with Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.