Guwahati, Nov 9 : Three more persons were gunned down by NDFB militants today, while another man succumbed to his injuries, pushing the toll in the overnight violence to 22, as the rebels warned of more killings in Assam.
However, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said "We are not going to be cowed down by terror" and the security forces have launched an offencive against National Democratic Front of Bodoland militants. The authorities have sounded a state-wide red alert after the killings.
A Hindi-speaking person and another, belonging to a minority community, were shot dead by the militants at Ultapani in Kokrajhar district on the Indo-Bhutan border this morning, while a cycle mechanic Paran Mondal was shot down at his residence in Domgaon village bordering Chirang district, police said.
One of those injured yesterday at Batasipur yesterday in Sonitpur district succumbed to his injuries at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital, they said.
Warning of more violence, NDFB spokesperson B Sadbangso told a local news TV channel that the recent violence is in reply of an encounter in Sonitpur district where an "innocent Bodo tribal civilian" Mahesh Basumatary was killed. "We took revenge for his death. We warn of more violent attacks, if security forces continue their offencive against us," he said.
On November 1, a self-styled NDFB lieutenant B Jwngkhang had threatened to take lives of 20 or more people for every Bodo or NDFB cadre killed in "fake encounters" by the security forces.
Yesterday, the militants had killed 18 persons, including eight Hindi-speaking and eight bus passengers, and injured over 20. Most of the attacks took place in Sonitpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi told Assembly that "We are not going to be cowed down by terror. The army, police and paramilitary forces have already launched massive operations in NDFB strongholds. The government will tackle militancy strongly."
"The anti-talk group of the NFFB is responsible for the killings and we will not tolerate it. The anti-talk group or whoever breaks the law will not be tolerated," the chief minister said in response to the opposition accusing the government of failing to protect the people.
The Assam Hindi Bhashi Chhatra Sangh has given a 24-hour bandh call on Wednesday to protest the killings.
The opposition in Assam today blamed the Tarun Gogoi government for the massacre of 22 people by NDFB militants despite a previous warning by the banned group of targeting innocent civilians.
Leader of the Opposition Prafulla Kumar Mahanta accused the Congress government of failing to take preventive measures despite a warning by the NDFB on November one to kill 20 or more persons if one of their cadre was killed in "fake encounters".
Charging the government of not taking the threat seriously, the former chief minister questioned what preventive steps had been taken by the administration.
AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary asked how NDFB militants staying in government designated camps were running a parallel government in their areas.
Padma Hazarika of the AGP demanded that the government take strong action against the militants.
BJP leader Ranjit Dutta said the responsibility of the government did not end in issuing statements against the killings and making ex-gratia payments to victims.
CPI leader Drupad Buragohain charged the government of failing to protect the people and maintain law and order. PTI