Kokrajhar: Innocent civilians continue to be targeted by militant outfits in the northeast. Recently, in Assam`s Kokrajhar district, suspected militants of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S) faction opened fire at bus passengers, killing five people and injuring two others.
On the night of January 17, a bus plying from Siliguri to Shillong on NH31 was stopped by cadres of anti-talk faction of NDFB (Songbjit) in Ramfalbil area of Assam`s Kokrajhar district.
The militants lined up Hindi speaking passengers and fired on them indiscriminately. Five people were killed on the spot and three were seriously injured.
They, then, asked the inter-state bus to proceed on its journey with other passengers.
"I went to the other side of the river and was hiding in the forest the entire night. Then in the morning, at around 5 to 6 am, I came out even though I was afraid," an unidentified victim.
"The incident took place at 10 in the night. The NDFB chief Songbjit should not have done this. If he had any issue, he should find a solution through talks," said Hagrama Mohilary, chief, Bodo Land Territorial Council.
The militants had been waiting to ambush a police vehicle. As no police vehicle passed by, they chose a soft target.
However, the Assam Police has launched a full-scale operation and has released pictures of suspected NDFB (S) cadres, who were believed to be behind the killings.
"We have decided to start a cash award system for the names of the important leaders and cadres of NDFB (S). This award will be for all those who provide us details of these militants, based on which we can conduct an operation, and trace them. We will keep the identity of the informants secret," said S N Singh, IGP, law and order, Assam Police.
In Silchar city, people have strongly protested against the killings by NDFB(S) and have demanded the immediate arrest of culprits.
"We are protesting against militancy, against violence. We condemn such brutal activities where they shot dead innocent people after forcing them to come out of the bus," said Dilip Singh, a protester.
Militant outfits in the Northeast frequently target non-locals in an attempt to create instability and communal tension in the region.
However, the people have understood the modus operandi of the underground outfits and want peace and tranquility to prevail in the area.