NEW DELHI: Indicating a role by ‘external agencies’ in providing sophisticated arms to militants in northeastern states, Home Minister Rajnath Singh ruled out an intelligence failure in the August 5 Assam market attack that claimed 14 lives and injured 19.
Making a suo motu statement in both Houses, Singh said the Centre has urged the Assam government to hunt down the culprits and bring them to justice.
Responding to a question by CPM Rajya Sabha MP Jharna Das Baidya over the presence of advanced illegal arms in Assam, Singh replied, “some external agencies role cannot be ruled out in providing these weapons”. He said the Centre did not consider the attack as an intelligence failure and was regularly coordinating with Assam and other northeastern states.
The minister told the Upper House that eight CRPF troops and nine Army troops were already deployed in Kokrajhar, the town where the attack happened. Besides, four additional Army troops were deployed after the attack on August 6. He added that the State police and security forces reacted swiftly and neutralised one militant whose identity is yet to be established. From the slain militant, one AK 56 rifle, two magazines of live ammunition and one grenade were recovered.
“The exact number of militants and the militant group involved is being investigated,” Singh said, adding the State government has made satisfactory arrangements for treating those injured in the attack.
“It is an unfortunate incident. I express my condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. I assure you that culprits will be brought to justice and Centre will provide all help to the State,” Singh said. Exgratia relief of `5 Lakh has been given to kin of those killed, `1 lakh to the seriously injured and `20,000 to those with minor injuries.
The Minister, responding to a suggestion to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency, said, “the State government is investigating the matter. If it does not progress properly, we will speak with the State and hand it over to the NIA.”
An NDFB(S) militant suspected to be associated with those involved in the attack was arrested on Monday from Assam’s Nalbari district, police said. The militant was identified as Bodoland Boro from Dhurmopur village in Kokrajhar.