- The victims were attacked near Dhola-Sadiya bridge around 7:45 pm
- Mamata Banerjee to hold rallies to protest killing of Bengali migrants
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh has condoled the deaths on Twitter
Five people were killed by suspected United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) terrorists in Upper Assam's Tinsukia district on Thursday evening. Reports suggest the terrorists belonged to the ULFA's Paresh Baruah faction, the ULFA-Independent. But the outfit has denied any role in the attack.
The terrorists were in battle fatigues and randomly picked five people at gunpoint from Kherbari Bisonibari area and killed them by the bank of the Lohit river.
Assam police chief Kuladhar Saikia and top officers rushed to the spot about 500 km from state capital Guwahati.
The Army has launched a massive counter-insurgency operation along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. The Assam Rifles is keeping a vigil on the porous Indo-Myanmar border.
The Panbazar police have summoned United Liberation Front of Assam-Peace Talks leader Mrinal Hazarika, who had recently threatened Bengali organisations supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The victims have been identified as Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subal Biswas and Dhananjay Namsudra, all Bengalis, the police said.
Several Bengali organisations have called for a 12-hour bandh in Tinsukia district today to protest the killings. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also said the Trinamool Congress will take out rallies in different parts of the state.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the attack on Twitter. "Deeply anguished by civilian casualties in an attack in Upper Assam region. It is a reprehensible act of mindless violence. Spoke to Assam CM Shri @sarbanandsonwal regarding the incident and asked him to take strict possible action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime," he said.
Immediately after the incident, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal asked State Ministers Keshav Mahanta and Topon Kumar Gogoi to rush to the site and take stock of the situation. Assam Director General of Police Kula Saikia and Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Agarwalla were also sent to the spot, an official statement read.
ULFA terrorists in Assam often target migrants from other states. Four people were injured in a low-intensity blast at Guwahati's Sukleswar Ghat area on October 13. ULFA-I later claimed responsibility for the incident, terming it as a warning for Hindu Bengali groups working "against the interests of Assam".