GUWAHATI, May 8 � At least six rifles of the Manas National Park are still missing following the burning down of the Narayanguri camp of the Park by an irate mob immediately after the massacre in the nearby village by militants suspected to be belonging to the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).
Highly placed sources in the National Park told The Assam Tribune that when the Narayanguri village, located adjacent to the forest camp, was set on fire by the armed miscreants, who also opened indiscriminate firing, the Forest guards and Home Guard personnel present in the camp also fled inside the forest along with the villagers. The Forest personnel returned much later, following which an irate mob set fire to the camp. There were eight weapons in the camp, including .303 rifles and .315 rifles and six of the weapons are now missing. It is still not known who took away the weapons in the melee. �We know that the mob snatched away one .303 rifle from a Home Guard man but we do not know what happened to the other weapons,� sources said. The National Park authorities have already lodged an FIR with the police in this regard.
Sources said that on the day after the incident, a crowd gathered in front of the Basbari range office of the National Park and the Forest personnel had to fire in the air to disperse the mob. The people were alleging that some Forest personnel were involved in the attack in Narayanguri village and police picked up the range officer of Basbari range, Amiya Kumar Brahma along with six casual workers of the Forest Department. However, Park sources claimed that Brahma was in Barpeta Road when the attack took place and only later he was sent to some camps inside the Park to see whether those might also be affected.
Sources in the Manas National Park said three streams have to be crossed to reach the Narayanguri camp from Barpeta Road and the village is located just near the camp. Skirmishes between the Forest personnel and village inmates are regular features in the area and several times, the Forest personnel also opened fire to prevent tree felling in the area.
Meanwhile, movement of armed militants within the Manas National Park remains a major cause of concern and on a number of occasions, Forest personnel witnessed such movements in the interior places, particularly under the Panbari range. However, the Forest Department personnel, armed with only .315 rifles, are not in a position to confront them. Sources also said that the police and security forces were informed about such movements of militants.