A total of five civilians were gunned down by unknown militants in the Kherbari village of Tinsukia district in the evening on 1st of November. Initially the militants were suspected to be from the banned outfit ULFA (I), which was later denied by the group.
All the five civilians namely Abhinash Biswas, his brother Ananta Biswas, uncle Shyamlal Biswas, and Dhananjay Namashudra, Subel Das belonged to the Bengali community. The questioned being raised on the killings is; are these killings an outcome of inflammatory comments and hates speeches made by certain leaders from political parties and ex-ULFA members regarding the Citizenship Bill, 2016. Complaints have also been launched against MLA Shiladitya Dey who at times made statements supporting the Citizenship Bill and made sensitive statements on the issue of community clash.
The Bengali Associations in Assam have called a 12-hour Assam bandh protesting against the attack and demanding action against the ex-ULFA leaders for making irresponsible statements.
Military operations along with the State’s police forces have begun operations in search of the miscreants in parts of the Tinsukia. Kuladhar Saikia, DGP, Assam Police said, ‘We are taking the investigation in a fast pace and will come out with results sooner.’
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, immediately after the tragic incident, ordered CM Sarbananda Sonowal to take immediate and stern actions in the case. Subsequently, CM has come out with a strong statement, warning all those involved in fuelling such incidents. ‘Any comments and provocative statements made by people in responsible positions will too face consequences of the stern actions taken by the government.’
Assam police, soon after the incident, have arrested two of ex-ULFA leaders, Mrinal Hazarika and Jiten Dutta in Guwahati and Sivsagar respectively, who have in the past couple of months made statements publicly against the community with regards to the Citizenship Bill, 2016.