Fourteen civilians were killed and at least 20 others have been injured after an unidentified militant opened fire at a weekly market at Balajan Tiniali in the heart of Kokrajhar town in Bodo heartland in western Assam on August 5.
The preliminary suspicion is on National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S) and jihadi elements.
The encounter reportedly began when police responded to a militant who opened fire in a market area. In an intense gunfight, one terrorist was shot dead. But at least two other gunmen are believed to have escaped. One Ak-47 rifle was recovered from the slain militant.
Assam’s director general of police said there were three to four militants involved, suspected to be part of the NDFB (S).
The militants besides firing from sophisticated weapons, also exploded a high explosive grenade that destroyed at least three shops.
“The Kokrajhar incident has come as a shock. (It is a) very dastardly and unfortunate attack,” minister of state, home affairs, Kiren Rijiju said.
“Have to be certain of elements behind Kokrajhar attack, cannot give official figures right now.”
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal reportedly spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Spoke to Assam CM Shri @sarbanandsonwal who apprised me of the situation in Kokrajhar. MHA is closely monitoring the situation.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 5, 2016
This sudden incident of firing on people at a public place in broad daylight is first of its kind in the militancy-affected state.