Assam massacre: Death toll rises to 78, NIA to probe killing

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Fresh incidents of violence were reported in Kokrajhar district this morning in the aftermath of Tuesday’s killing of adivasis by NDFB (S) militants and retaliatory violence thereafter, with the toll of the victims increasing to 78 on Thursday.

After touring affected Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the National Investigation Agency would probe the NDFB(S) attacks and assured the Assam government of Army’s assistance, if necessary, in its crackdown on militant organisations. In the Gossaigaon area of Kokrajhar district several houses of Bodos were set ablaze by adivasis early in the morning despite an indefinite curfew clamped in the entire district, a police official said. Sonitpur district bore the brunt of the violence where six more bodies were found this morning from Maitalu Basti under Zinzia police station bordering Arunachal Pradesh, taking the district’s individual toll to 43. Three adivasis were killed in police firing on protesters on Wednesday to take the total number of dead in the district to 46.

In Kokrajhar, the other affected district, retaliatory violence by adivasis claimed the lives of four Bodos at Manikpur and Dimapur areas taking the total there to 29. In Chirang district, the death toll remained three. Curfew has been also imposed in the affected areas of Sonitpur and Chirang districts along with parts of Dhubri and Baksa districts as precautionary measure, he added.

The Home Minister told reporters at Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district during a visit, “We will take strong measures to deal with the outfit and will control it effectively. ”

“The Centre has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against all acts of terror and the similar policy will be adopted in this case too,” he said. Later, the Home Minister, told a press conference in Guwahati at the end of his visits to Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts, “I have spoken to the Assam CM and we have decided to investigate the entire incident by the NIA. We want to see the links of such groups. We want to know with whom they have connections.”

Singh said, “We cannot overlook it as a simple militant act. It is an act of terror. Both state and central governments will deal with it the way terrorism is dealt with,” he said.

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