Assam violence: 6 forest dept men in custody after complaints by survivors

3 NDFB(S) militants killed in two separate encounters.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Updated: May 5, 2014 1:46:37 am
Security personnel keep vigil at Bhangarapar Bazar. (Dasarath Deka) Security personnel keep vigil at Bhangarapar Bazar. (Dasarath Deka)

A team of the CID of the Assam Police Sunday reached Khagrabari and visited adjoining villages in Baksa district to carry out its investigation as the state government was waiting for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take up the case and ascertain the kind of role the NDFB(S) militants had in the Khagrabari incident that has left 20 dead so far.

“A Special Investigation Team from the CID has been sent to Baksa district for an investigation so that cases can be smoothly handed over to NIA as decided in due process. In the meantime, a formal proposal for engagement of NIA has also been moved,” an official press note said here Sunday. Moreover, while five cases have been registered in connection with incidents that occurred in Kokrajhar and Baksa on Thursday and Friday, 26 persons have been arrested.

Security forces on the other hand killed three NDFB(S) militants in two separate encounters in Sonitpur and Udalguri district Sunday, official sources said. With this, the number of NDFB(S) militants killed in the current year has gone up to 21. Security forces have also arrested 72 militants while 41 surrendered along with recovery of huge cache of arms and explosives in the current year so far.

Meanwhile, the police have taken into custody six personnel of the forest department following complaints by survivors of Khagrabari that they had also attacked the villagers and set fire on some of the houses. Confirming this, Assam Home Secretary G D Tripathi said some of the survivors made a specific complaint that when the villagers rushed to the forest beat office in Khagrabari as the armed miscreants attacked them, the forest personnel, instead of helping them, allegedly fired at them and set some of the houses on fire.

“The police have arrested a Ranger of the Manas National Park and five others on the basis of specific complaints of some of the survivors. Some departmental rifles that were in the forest beat office in the village are also missing,” Tripathi said. The Narayanguri beat office located at Khagrabari village had eight rifles, some .315 bore and some of the 303 variety, of which two have remained missing since the incident of Friday.

Sources said while two guns were safely deposited in the Bansbari range office of Manas National Park, three were later recovered from the river-bed. “One of the rifles was apparently snatched away by the panic-stricken villagers, while two continue to remain untraced. “A couple of forest personnel posted at the beat office when the incident took place have also remained missing,” the Home Secretary said.

The police have recovered a few empty cartridges of .315 and 303 rifles from the village which the forest staff had apparently fired. “But whether the forest staff fired in self defence, or to scare away the armed militants or had directed their guns at the villagers will be ascertained only after a thorough investigation,” Tripathi said.

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