At least 48 civilians killed – when heavily armed militants launched simultaneous attacks on civilian settlers in four different locations spread in two Assam districts, Kokrajhar and Sonitpur – on Tuesday evening, December 23, 2014. The toll is likely to rise. Unconfirmed reports put the toll over 50.
The Assam police claimed inputs about a likely attack by the NDFB(S) in select pockets as retaliation to the death of several of their cadres in the past 30 days. At least three militants were killed last week alone.
“We had information that the outfit Songbijit faction of NDFB would carry out retaliatory attacks but it was difficult to pinpoint the locations,” Additional DG of Assam Police (Special Branch) Pallab Bhattacharya said.
Pallab Bhattacharya also said, “We are still trying to find out the number of casualties. The places where the killings took place are remote and close to the Bhutan border.”
On Monday, the NDFB(S) had warned the government for retaliatory attacks if the security forces did not stop operations against its men.
Bhattacharya said, “We had information that the outfit would carry out retaliatory attacks but it was difficult to pinpoint the locations.”
It was only in the afternoon Tuesday that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had warned that the militants would be dealt with very strongly. “We will not tolerate any threat from any group. The government will not bow to any pressure while tackling terrorist groups,” Gogoi had said on the sidelines of an official function.