Assam's fragile peace was shattered Monday when tribal separatists
killed at least 14 Hindi-speaking people, including eight bus
passengers, in three separate attacks in the northeastern state of
Assam, officials said.
A police spokesperson said heavily armed militants of the outlawed
National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) fired at a bus near
Bhoimari village in Sonitpur district, about 250 km north of
Assam's main city of Guwahati. They lined up the passengers and
took away the Hindi-speaking people to the forest and shot them.
"The NDFB fired at the bus, forcing the driver to stop, after
which the militants lined up all the passengers on the road and
took away at least 10 of them at gunpoint," a senior police
There were about 25 people on board the private bus carrying
Arunachal Pradesh government employees.
Police later recovered the bodies of eight people from a thickly
wooded area close to the place where the bus was stopped.
"All the dead were Hindi-speaking people hailing from Bihar and
were Arunachal Pradesh government employees," Assam police chief
Shankar Baruah told IANS.
The whereabouts of two other passengers were not known. Police,
army, and paramilitary troopers have launched a massive hunt in
In another incident around 6 p.m., five people, including a woman,
were killed after NDFB militants opened indiscriminate fire near
village Belseri in Sonitpur district.
"All the victims were Hindi-speaking people," a police official
In the third attack, a daily wage earner, also a Hindi-speaking
person, was killed in Tamulpur area in Nalbari district in western
Police blamed the attacks on the NDFB, a rebel group fighting for
a separate homeland for the Bodo tribals, with their unique
culture and ethnicity. There are approximately three million Bodos
in Assam's 26 million population.
"We condemn the barbaric attack on innocent civilians by the NDFB
and I assure you of very tough security measures against the
rebels," Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.
The incident comes hours after security forces Monday morning
gunned down a NDFB militant in Sonitpur district during an
On Nov 1, the NDFB threatened to kill 20 or more people if one of
their cadres was killed by security forces in any encounter.
"From today onwards, if any innocent NDFB cadres are killed by
Indian forces in the name of fake encounter then the Boroland Army
(armed wing of the NDFB) would take action against any Indian,"
deputy chief of the Boroland Army, B. Jwngkhang, said in an
emailed statement Nov 1.
"One innocent Boro would be equal to 20 Indian or may be more and
we don't care who they are, maybe Indian civilians or Indian
Security forces in the past three months killed at least 20 NDFB
cadres, besides arresting more than 15 militants in separate raids
even as the tribal separatist group continued with a series of
kidnappings for money.
"And this (threat) would be anytime and any moment and we are
ready to strike. Remember this warning and be serious before
killing any innocent Boro people," the rebel statement warned the