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Govt promises ‘time-bound’ action against Bodo militants

As fresh incidents of violence in Assam broke out, the Centre on Wednesday promised a “time-bound” action against the Bodo group, which carried out the massacre of tribals. He ruled out talks with the insurgent outfit and also announced a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the attack.

The death toll in the carnage and retaliatory violence by tribals rose to 78, Police said.

Terming the Tuesday massacre as a “terror act”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Indian government had received assurance of cooperation from “one of the premiers” of Bhutan and Myanmar to flush out terrorists from their territories.

Singh told the media here that “External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Bhutan government and Bhutan also assured action against terror outfits,” according to a home ministry statement. National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) is believed to have set up a few bases in the dense forest along the Indo-Bhutan border.  Singh said Swaraj informed him of this development on Wednesday.

The home minister was speaking to reporters here, after visiting affected Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts.

Ruling out any talks with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) NDFB(S), Singh said, “There will be no dialogue with such organisation. Only action will follow. There will be a time-bound action, we don’t want to drag it. I have asked the state to directly start operations.”

He also assured the Assam government of Army’s assistance, if necessary, in its crackdown on militant organisations in the state.

“I have spoken to the chief minister of Assam and we have decided to investigate the entire incident by NIA. We want to see links of such groups. We want to know with whom they have connections,” he said. He said the government took the attacks by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction) “very seriously”.

“We cannot overlook it as a simple militant act. It is an act of terror. Both the state and central governments will deal with it the way terrorism is dealt with,” he said. The home minister earlier told reporters at Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district during his 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.

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 massacre where six more bodies were found this morning from Maitalu Basti under Zinzia police station bordering Arunachal Pradesh, taking the toll to 43.

Three adivasis were killed in the police firing on protesters on Wednesday to take the total number of dead in Sonitpur district to 46.

In Kokrajhar, the other affected district, retaliatory violence by adivasis claimed lives of four Bodos at Manikpur and Dimapur areas taking the death toll including in the Bodo carnage to 29. Three people were also killed in Chirang district.

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