At least 15 people are still missing four days after the massacre at Khagrabari village in Baksa district of Assam, even as the death toll went up to 33 with the recovery of one more body on Tuesday. The body of a 35-year-old woman, Jahanara Begum, was fished out of the Beki near Howly in Barpeta district and 20 km from where the massacre took place Friday.
Confirming this, official sources said personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and other central paramilitary forces have been deployed to conduct a search operation in the entire length of the Beki as also in the adjoining jungles that comprise Manas National Park.
Meanwhile, 14 persons arrested in connection with the three incidents of violence were Tuesday remanded in police custody for three days by a court in Barpeta. Those arrested included six forest department personnel who were also allegedly involved in the attack on Khagrabari village.
In another development, National Investigation Agency’s additional DG N R Wasan arrived in Guwahati and held discussions with Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla and senior police officials on the modalities of the proposed probe. The NIA would give its report to the home ministry which in turn would decide on whether the agency should go ahead with the probe or not.
Meanwhile, protests continued across Assam condemning the killings as also against the alleged failure of the state government and the Bodoland Territorial Council administration to protect lives and property of the people.
In Guwahati, members of the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) staged a dharna outside the Raj Bhavan and demanded immediate arrest of Bodoland People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary and its legislator Pramila Rani Brahma. The AAMSU also demanded review of the Bodoland Territorial Council Act and threatened to go for a series of agitational programmes like economic blockade and bandhs to press for fulfillment of its demand.
A bandh called by the Muslim Students’ Union of Assam on the other hand led to disruption of traffic between upper and lower Assam on NH 31, as protesters pelted public transport as well as private vehicles with stones at different places of Nagaon district.
Gogoi to visit Baksa today
GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who has come under flak for the massacres in Baksa and Kokrajhar districts last week, will be visiting the two villages where the major attacks took place on Wednesday. “I did not go there immediately because that would have disrupted the security measures taken for the people,” Gogoi said. The government also said that the Army, which was requisitioned in the affected districts to help in maintenance of law and order, was derequisitioned Tuesday in order to carry out counter-insurgency operations. However, the Army would continue to be in stand-by mode for quick redeployment. ENS