Govt rules out talks with NDFB(S); NIA to probe Assam attacks

Tribal men walk with their bow and arrow on a field at Sonajuli village in Sonitpur district of Assam
Guwahati: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday ruled out any talks with the outlawed NDFB(S) militants who have carried out a series of attacks in Assam since Tuesday killing over 71 people. Seven people have also died in the subsequent violence.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the violence-affected Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts, Rajnath told a press conference here, “There is no question of holding any dialogue with a terror group.

described the attacks as a “challenge to the nation”.

The minister further informed that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the NDFB(S) attacks on Adivasis and the consequent violence in the state.

“I have spoken to the Assam CM and we have decided to investigate the entire incident by the NIA. We want to see the links of such groups. We want to know with whom they have connections,” Rajnath said, adding the government took the attacks “very seriously”.

 Rajnath, who visited the two violence-affected districts along with Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, said the government has received assurance of cooperation from “one of the premiers” of Bhutan and Myanmar for flushing out terrorists from their territories.

He further appealed to the people of Assam not to term the unfortunate incident as ethnic clash. “Terrorists do not have religion, caste and region. They are only terrorists,” he observed.

Rajnath had said earlier in the day that the Centre has “zero tolerance” policy for such “crafted terror” of National Democratic Front of Bodoland [NDFB(S)].

During his visit, the Home Minister met the victims’ families and instructed authorities to provide relief to the affected on a war footing.

He appealed to the people to observe restraint and prevent clashes on ethnic lines, and assured them of strong action against the ‘terrorists’.

Rajnath said in the morning, “The killings by NDFB(S) is not an ordinary act of violence by a militant outfit, but an act of crafted terror and we will deal with it accordingly.”

Assam continues to remain on the edge after Bodo militants carried out fresh attacks in the state on Wednesday, fuelling violent protests by Adivasis who were angry over the police failure to prevent the killings. The death toll in the violence unleashed by Bodo militants has risen to 78.

In the worst affected Sonitpur district, six more bodies were recovered this morning from Maitalu Basti under Zinzia police station bordering Arunachal Pradesh taking the toll in attacks by NDFB(S) to 43 in the district, a police spokesman told PTI.

Meanwhile, tribals blocked the rail tracks in Malda-Katihar division today protesting the massacre in Assam.

Additional SP, Malda district, Avisek Modi said a group of tribals, living in Gajol police station area, blocked the rail tracks at Eklakhi station, 29 km from Malda Town station, since 11 am in protest against the deaths in terrorist attacks.

Three adivasis were killed in police firing yesterday during protests against the carnage.

In Kokrajhar, the other severely affected district, retaliatory violence by adivasis claimed the lives of four Bodos at Manikpur and Dimapur areas.

25 people were killed by militants in Kokrajhar and three in Chirang district.

The Home Minister on Wednesday instructed the state agencies to take on the terrorists operating in Assam and assured Centre’s complete support in this endeavour.

While addressing the ‘Unified Command’, the Union Minister said that the killings of tribals in Assam was an act of terror and it was totally unacceptable.

Singh assured Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of NIA investigation into the killings of villagers by NDFB(S) militants.

An all-out offensive will be launched against NDFB(S) militants jointly by police, paramilitary forces and Army in the wake of the violence, sources said in Delhi.

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