Shutdown, Protests In Assam After 5 Killed By Suspected ULFA Terrorists

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The five people killed and two injured were playing Ludo at an eatery when they were picked up.


After five persons of the Bengali community were shot dead by suspected United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) terrorists in Assam's Tinsukia district, several political parties took to the streets to protest the killings. A dawn-to-dusk bandh called by several Bengali organisations is already in place. While vehicles remained off the roads, shops and markets were closed.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has condemned the attack and said the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will take out rallies in different parts of the state. She has replaced her Twitter profile image with a solid black block to express her anger.

We have no words to express our deep sorrow to the grieving families. The perpetrators must be punished at the very earliest 2/2

– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) November 1, 2018

The Congress is also protesting in Guwahati and Tinsukia.

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Reports suggest the terrorists belonged to the ULFA's Paresh Baruah faction, the ULFA-Independent. But the outfit has denied its involvement in the attack.

The terrorists were in battle fatigues and randomly picked five people at gunpoint from Kherbari Bisonibari area and killed them by the banks of the Lohit river.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was in Chennai, rushed back home and is monitoring the situation, which is far from peaceful.

"Strong action will be taken against the perpetrators of this dastardly violence. We will not tolerate such cowardly act," Mr Sonowal said.

The Assam Police are searching for the accused and police chief Kuladhar Saikia and top officers are in Tinsukia, about 500 km from state capital Guwahati.

The Army has launched a massive operation along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border to prevent terrorists from crossing the border. The Assam Rifles is keeping a strict vigil on the porous Indo-Myanmar border.

The Panbazar police have summoned United Liberation Front of Assam-Peace Talks leader Mrinal Hazarika, who had recently threatened Bengali organisations supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The five people, including three of a family, who were killed and two injured, were playing Ludo at a roadside eatery when they were picked up, the police said.

The victims have been identified as Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subal Biswas and Dhananjay Namsudra, all Bengalis, the police said.

The police believe the ULFA (I) to be behind the attack even as the organisation has denied any role.

ULFA terrorists in Assam often target migrants. Four people were injured in a low-intensity blast at Guwahati's Sukleswar Ghat area on October 13. ULFA-I later claimed responsibility for the blast, terming it as a warning for Hindu Bengali groups working "against the interests of Assam".

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