More than 14 civilians, one militant were killed and many more were severely injured in one of the Assam’s worst terror attack on Thursday. The attack occurred in the Balajan Tiniali market area near Kokrajhar Town.
The suspected National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction) opened fire randomly in a heavily in a heavily crowded market area of Balajan Tiniali, merely ten kilometers away from Assam’s Kokrajhar town. One of the militant reportedly even threw a grenade at the running crowd. Interestingly, Kokrajhar town is the headquarters of Bodoland Territorial Council.
Speaking to press, Mukesh Shahay, the Director General of Police stated that the police strongly suspects of rebels of National Democratic Front of Bodoland to be behind this attack. Disclosing that the NDFB are recruiting the youths from Western Assam, Mr Shahay said, “We have eliminated one of the militants in an encounter soon after the incident and a massive combing operations have been launched to nab their associates suspected to have been taking shelter in the nearby areas.” He also added that an AK-47 rifle was recovered from the militant who was killed by the police.
While the Assam government confirmed the death of 13 civilians, they said those who were wounded have been shifted to the local city hospitals. The security forces have cordoned the area and are combing the place for the militants who could have been hiding in nearby local areas.
Deploring the attack Chief Minister Sonowal stated, ““Our Govt is committed to protection of people of Assam, have directed senior officials to rush to the spot.” He also announced that the kin of the victims who died will receive 5 lakhs from the State. He further stated, “Our government will take stern action against these extremist outfits.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi too conveyed his shock and grief in the social media as he tweeted, “Saddened by the attack in Kokrajhar. We strongly condemn it. Thoughts & prayers with the bereaved families & those injured.”
Assam Finance, Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who visited the site of tragedy on the behalf of Chief Minsiter told media that the State is closely reviewing the situation. Giving an overview of the situation he said, “Two of the extremists have been neutralised and police is looking out for another six but at this stage these are my specific assessments as I am yet to talk to the SP. “I think details are still coming in so we have to wait for some time to find out the confirmed number of killings and the number of extremists neutralised by security forces. Bodoland territorial council Chief Hagrama Mohillary has said that 12 persons are on the list of those killed. This is his version.”
The attack comes as little surprise to the state intelligence as it had already asked the State to remain on high alert as there were chances of such attacks closer to Independence Day. Expressing his shock and remorse on the attack Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, “This particular incident is unfortunate. This incident is very sad and we are shocked that so many people have lost their lives. We were very successful in ensuring peace in Assam. We will ensure that the victims are taken care of.” He also informed the media that Center has asked the State to provide full report on the attack as soon as possible. He revealed that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is monitoring the situations and the progress of the security combing closely.
Conveying his distress on the terror attack and subsequent deaths Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “News of the terror attack in Kokrajhar, Assam extremely worrying. My thoughts& prayers are with the families of the victims.”
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