The massacre is being attributed to the growing polarisation in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and National Register of Citizens.
Guwahati: Suspected armed militants of the outlawed United liberation Front of Asom (Independent) on Thursday massacred at least five youths belonging to a particular linguistic community in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district.
Police said that the incident took place in Kherbari village under Dhola police station area at about 8.55 pm when heavily armed Ulfa(I) militants kidnapped five youths from a village shop. They then took the young men to the banks of Brahmaputra, lined them up and shot them dead one by one.
Those killed have been identified as Shyamlal Biswas, Anant Biswas, Awinash Biswas, Subel Das and Dhananjoy Sudra.
Senior police officers were tight-lipped about the incident. However, security sources said that it was the handiwork of Ulfa(I) militants. Security sources said that these youths were playing Ludo in a village shop when the Ulfa(I) militants picked them up on gun-point.
Ulfa(I), whose commander-in-chief is Paresh Barua, is yet to claim responsibility. The massacre is being attributed to the growing polarisation in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and National Register of Citizens.
Security sources said that killing was the fallout of the growing rift between Bengali and Assamese people over proposed amendment of the Citizenship Bill by the BJP at the Centre.
The massacre comes weeks after ULFA(I) detonated a low-intensity bomb in Guwahati on October 13 to protest against the Centre’s bid to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Four people, including a woman, were injured in the blast.
On Thursday, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal condemned the killing and rushed his ministers, Keshav Mahanta and Topon Kumar Gogoi, to the incident site to take stock of the situation.
The chief minister also asked DGP Kula Saikia and ADGP (law and order) Mukesh Agarwalla to rush to the site.
Army and police teams have also been rushed to the spot. Mr Sonowal in his first reaction said that the perpetrators of the crime would be dealt with firmly.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also condemned the incident. “Terrible news coming out of Assam. We strongly condemn the brutal attack in Tinsukia. Is this the outcome of recent NRC development? We have no words to express our deep sorrow to the grieving families. The perpetrators must be punished at the very earliest,” she tweeted.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, under the consideration of joint parliamentary committee of both the Houses, has triggered series of protests in Assam. The bill seeks to provide citizenship to religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, i.e. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who entered India till December 31, 2014.
The Congress is opposing the bill on the ground that it is against the Assam Accord. In 1985, the Assam Accord was signed following which it was decided that for Assam the date of detection and deportation of foreigners will be March 25, 1971, irrespective of religious affiliation.
The BJP’s ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has threatened to quit the alliance if the bill is passed by the Parliament.
The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and several other organisations have been agitating against the bill that aims to allow migrants to seek citizenship on religious lines.