Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials said Saturday that after elections there was an intelligence input about an attack being planned on migrant Muslims in a particular Bodo-dominated area in Assam and security forces were sent there. The attackers, however, changed their plan on seeing the presence of forces and targeted another place, they said. Officials said the attacks were meant to incite riots.
PM Manmohan Singh condemned the violence and spoke to CM Tarun Gogoi and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to restore normalcy.
A senior official said the attackers, suspected to belong to National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), crossed over from Bhutan and another group, which struck on Friday, came from Dhubri side in Assam.
The massacre is being seen as an attempt by the NDFB-S to create pressure on the government to withdraw the crackdown on them over the past one year. The group, comprising 70-80 armed cadres, has been involved in a series of extortion and killings in Assam.
“The group wanted to incite riots. So far we have managed to contain violence but more forces are being deployed to avoid any such situation,” an official said.
Withdrawal of central security forces from the four Bodoland districts — Chirang, Kokrajhar, Udalguri and Baksa — could also have led to the “ethnic violence” in the area, an official said.
The next fear for the security establishment is that the present killings could surpass the 2012 incident in Kokrajhar district, where 77 people were killed and thousands displaced.
Following this incident, around 500 men from SSB deployed along the Bhutan border have been pulled out and asked to dominate the forest areas in the four violence-hit districts.