Militants on rampage, target political leaders in Assam

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Guwahati, Dec 14 (UNI) Close on the heels of the blast in Rajdhani Express, which left five dead, militants continued to be on the rampage in Assam as a former BJP leader was gunned down and an AGP MLA critically wounded since late last night.

Another AGP leader was also seriously hurt in a road accident when he was going to call on his injured colleague. The blast in the Rajdhani Express, was raw in the psyche of the people when the attacks on the political leaders sent more danger bells ringing, especially with the approaching Panchayat elections and militants threatening to disrupt them at several places.

Unidentified insurgents shot dead former BJP leader Munindra Singha Laskar at his Rangiya resident last night.

He was at home talking to his business associates when the rebels walked in and shot him dead. Laskar was a senior BJP and RSS functionary before he fell out with the party and quit.

In a separate incident, suspected Bodo militants attacked Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MLA Padma Hazarika near Tezpur in Sonitpur district also late last night.

The militants pumped four bullets into him and also burnt down his vehicle. Mr Hazarika had, however, managed to escape through a nearby paddy field after abandoning his vehicle a little distance away from the spot where he was first ambushed.

He was rushed to the Tezpur Army Base Hospital and admitted in the ICU. One bullet was still lodged in his body as high diabetic count and high blood pressure had prevented the doctors from operating on him.

However, Mr Hazarika was stated to be out of danger.

Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner M P Gupta informed that investigation had revealed that two motorcycle-borne youths had attacked Mr Hazarika with AK 47 rifles and grenades. The attackers were yet to be identified and no arrest had been made so far.

The officer in-charge of Sootea police station had already been suspended, while hundreds of angry people gheraoed the police station this morning, demanding postponement of Panchayat polls in the constituency. Tezpur town observed a spontaneous bandh.

The AGP, in a memorandum to the state Governor, demanded a judicial enquiry into Mr Hazarika'a attack and dismissal of the state government for failing to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, AGP leader and former Union Minister Birendra Prasad Baishya was critically injured in a road accident near Neille in Morigaon district.

He was rushed back to Guwahati. He was on way to call on Mr Hazarika along with other party leaders and party chief Brindabon Goswami, who were following in another vehicle.


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