A day after five Bengali-speaking daily wage workers were killed in Bisonimukh village of Tinsukia district, Assam, allegedly by ULFA (I), the outfit released a statement denying any involvement in the incident.
“We, the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) would like to make it clear that our organisation does not have any involvement in the firing incident that occurred on 1st November 2018 at Sadiya Saikhowaghat in Tinsukia district.” Read in Bengali
— Abhishek Saha (@saha_abhi1990) November 2, 2018
Recounting the incident, an eyewitness told a local news channel that there were five to six gunmen all dressed in battle fatigues. The assailants called out the victims and shot them on the banks of the Brahmaputra river.
The village is reported to be a Bengali-dominated area, mostly comprising farmers and daily-wage workers. The victims have been identified as Shyamal Biswas (60), Ananta Biswas (18), Abhinash Biswas (23), Subal Das (60) and Dhananjay Namasudra (23).
Speaking to The Indian Express after the incident, Special DGP (Special Branch) of the Assam Police, Pallab Bhattacharyya said he suspected it to be the work of ULFA (I) or some combined militant group. Bhattacharyya said, “Seven days back, there was an intelligence input about attacks in Bengali-dominated areas, but there was nothing specific.”
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal condemned the killings and said that strong action would be taken. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee wondered if the attack was a reaction to the National Register of Citizens in Assam. She wrote in a tweet, “Terrible news coming out of Assam. We strongly condemn the brutal attack in Tinsukia… Is this the outcome of recent NRC development.”
Last month, a low-intensity blast at Sukleswar Ghat area of Guwahati had claimed three lives, ULFA(I) Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua claimed responsibility for the attack and said that it was warning to organisations who are conspiring against Assam. He said, “Hindu Bengali organisations, who are conspiring against Assam despite living in Assam and are protesting against the NRC”.
Meanwhile, a 12-hour bandh was called on Friday by the All Assam Bengali Youth Student Federation’s Tinsukia branch.