At least 14 people were killed in a terror attack in Assam’s Kokrajhar district on Friday, the state’s top police officer told news agency ANI. There are reports that three militants opened fire in the Balajan Tiniali market area, a few kilometres away from Kokrajhar town to which the security forces responded.
One militant was gunned down in a subsequent gun battle. Police suspect the involvement of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The DGP also said that grenade and other weapons have been recovered from the site.
The injured have been shifted to nearby hospitals. The area has been cordoned off by police and Army forces as they launched operations to look for militants hiding in nearby buildings.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal condemned the attacked and said, “Our Govt is committed to protection of people of Assam, have directed senior officials to rush to the spot.”
“I am now rushing towards Assam, ” the chief minister said who was in Delhi for some meeting. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the matter and said PM Modi expressed his condolences.
CM Sonowal also said that an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs will be given to next of kin of people who have died, Rs 1 lakhs for those who have been injured in the attack. “Our Govt will take stern action against these extremist outfits, ” the CM added.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, senior BJP leader and minister in the Assam government, wrote on Twitter that he is rushing to the site. “Shocked at barbaric violence and death of innocents in Kokrajhar, ” said Sarma.
Sarma added that combing operations by Assam Police, CRPF and Paramilitary forces are underway in the region to locate the other militants at large. He also informed that the Army is on standby and will be called in if necessary.
Following the attack, the chief minister also meet National Security Advisor Ajit Doval later in the day to discuss security measures.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju also reacted to the attack.
“This particular incident is unfortunate. This incident is very sad and we are shocked that so many people have lost their lives. We were very successful in ensuring peace in Assam. We will ensure that the victims are taken care of,” said MoS Home Kiren Rijiju. He additionally said the Centre will ask the state government for more details and then appropriately take action.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to CM Sonowal and said his ministry is monitoring the situation closely.
Subhash Bhamre, MoS for Defence said, “No terror group has claimed responsibility yet. Army and paramilitary forces have launched a massive operation to nab the terrorists.”
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi also expressed his concerens on the Assam attack. “News of the terror attack in Kokrajhar, Assam extremely worrying. My thoughts& prayers are with the families of the victims, ” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)