Indian Army Chief reached Guwahati to review situation in Assam ahead of 88 Adivasi killing

GUWAHATI(Input from PTI/IANS): Despite having intelligence inputs, the Assam government failed to stop the killing of tribals by militants of the Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S), and later the retaliatory action from tribals in which Bodo homes were torched.
According to an Indian Express report, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Assam Police took nearly two hours to decipher a ‘key call’ made by a senior functionary of the NDFB(S), which carried out synchronised attacks on Adivasis.

A villager stands by a burning house which belonged to the Bodo tribesmen. Retaliatory attacks flared up in a few Assam villages on Ffriday. Reuters

Why? Apparently because they spoke in the local “Bodo language”.

A senior Home Ministry official told Indian Express that the intelligence agencies intercepted a phone call where Bidai is giving out directions to his men to attack the tribals. However, by the time they decoded it, it was too late. The group had launched an attack in which at least 80 people were killed.

Meanwhile, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag has left for Assam to review the situation following the attack by NDFB(S) militants. Singh will first visit Guwahati and then Sonitpur and Kokrajhar where militants belonging to National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction) killed the Adivasis on Tuesday.

He will be briefed by officials there about the situation on the ground and the operation the army has launched against the militants.
The death toll in the attacks by NDFB (S), retaliatory violence by tribals and police firing stood has risen to 88.
The Army chief, who had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on Friday, had said that the Army is going to intensify its operations against the NDFB militants.

Though Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest in the remote area in recent years, it was not the first of its kind on adivasis. They were targeted for the first time in Kokrajhar in 1996, where the casualty crossed 200. There have been similar incidents on a smaller scale now and then.
In this report, Firstpost notes why ignoring the intel inputs in violence-hit Assam is unpardonable.

“First and foremost, it was the failure of the state government which failed to act on the intelligence input in case of the first attack, and again the retaliatory attack. The latter could have been averted,” former director general of police (Assam), Prakash Singh told Firstpost.

According to a central intelligence source, Intelligence Bureau (IB) had alerted that the militants might unleash an attack on the locals due to the mounting pressure on them from security agencies, which it had reportedly been shared with the state unit.

Defence analyst Maj Gen (retd) Dhruv C Katoch, who had served in Assam during the peak of insurgency period told Firstpost, “Despite so many attacks and killings, this time again it occurred due to poor intelligence network and bad policing. Ignoring input in an insurgency-hit area speaks of callousness and negligence, which are unpardonable.”