KOKRAJHAR: Terror struck Assam today when suspected NDFB(S) militants attacked a crowded market place in Kokrajhar district killing 14 people and leaving more than 20 others injured.
One of the attackers was killed in retaliatory action by security forces.
Assam Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay said the attack at Balajan Tiniali market, 12 km from here, was supected to be the handiwork of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) and search operations by the security forces were on in the area.
He said 13 people died on the spot when the militants who came in a van around 12.30 p.m opened fire.
One of the attackers was killed when security forces, who were patrolling the area rushed in and retaliated, Sahay said. The body of the slain militant was yet to be identified.
It is suspected that three or four militants may be hiding and operations are on to nab them, he said.
AK-56 and 47 series rifles along with grenades were recovered from the spot.
More than 15 persons have been injured, most of them critically, and were admitted to various hospitals in the town.
The six killed have been identified as Mazhar Ali, Salam Ali, Danda Basumatary, Moniram Basumatary, Parmeswar Basumatary and Tapan Chakraborty.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has condemned the killings and directed the district authorities to provide medical aid to the injured.
He has also directed Finance, Education and Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to rush to the spot and review the situation in the area, where more security personnel have been deployed.
Sonowal, who was sworn in as the first BJP chief minister of Assam on May 24, said his government is committed to ensure the safety of life and property of the people of Assam.
"Our government is committed to take stern action against extremists outfit to ensure the safety of civilians," he said.
"We will not tolerate any threat from any group. The government will not bow to any pressure while tackling terrorist groups," he said, adding all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police across the state have been directed to be on high alert following the attack and in view of the upcoming Independence Day.
The Chief Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to him and conveyed their condolences.
The Assam government has decided to grant an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh to those injured, he said.
He hoped that the people of Assam will maintain peace during this critical period.
"I am sure people of Assam will definitely maintain peace and harmony. This is our sincere appeal to everyone," he said.