Guwahati, Dec 24: It probably was one of the most brutal attacks in recent times at Assam which invited severe condemnation by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Yesterday members of the NDFB (Songbijit) carried out attacks in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts of Assam and killed over 40 persons most of whom were women and children.
The Assam police who have launched a major crackdown following this attack say that there was intelligence that they would strike back. However the focus of the entire security machinery was on the minority areas and the militants decided to target the Advivasis instead.
Major crackdown launched:
The Assam police and the paramilitary forces have intensified their operations against the attackers. The hunt is on for those who struck at the Adivasis with such brutality an officer from Assam informed oneindia.
The security forces have also sealed the Indo-Bhutan border to prevent any of the militants from slipping out. There will be more central forces joining the Assam police and they have vowed to crack down on the militants in a big way.
Attack was retaliatory:
In the past month, the police had intensified their operations against the NDFB. The operations by the police was particularly intense in the Kokrajhar area and they had managed to gun down around 4 militants of the group.
The Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had told his security forces to go after the militants in a big way. Moreover they had also decided that the militants were targeting innocent civilians and if not curbed the situation could well go out of hand.
There was intelligence:
The Assam police admit that there was intelligence that the militants would stage an attack soon. However it was expected that they would attack areas where there is a minority settlement. It was not expected that they would go after the Adivasis, an officer with the Assam state intelligence unit informed.
The security forces had not prepared for an attack in the Adivasi settlement areas and this was taken advantage of by the militants who appeared strike at will yesterday in an attack that lasted nearly an hour and claimed over 40 lives.
More about the NDFB:
The Bodo Security Force which was formed in the year 1986 was renamed as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in the year 1995. The outfit, since May 2005, is under a ceasefire agreement with the Assam and Union Government. The force was formed with an intent of creating a Bodoland' in the areas north of the river Brahmaputra.
Their key objectives were to liberate the Bodoland from Indian occupation and also prevent the Bodo from exploitation and occupation.
Strength and areas of operation:
The strength of the outfit is estimated at around 2000 today. The outfit operates in the areas of
Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Darrang, Barpeta, Dhubri, Nalbari and Sonitpur districts. The outfit operates out 3 different camps and there was a considerable number of them who had based themselves in a camp in Southern Bhutan. However many moved out of the Bhutan camp and returned to their native place in Assam following a crackdown.
The outfit has adequate supply of weapons and this is thanks to their links with the ULFA, Kamatapur Liberation Organisation and other groups. The militants have found to have used the Ak-47 rifle the most during their attacks and the supply of these arms is attributed to their close ties with the ULFA.