GUWAHATI, May 4 � The police had prior tip off about the possibility of attacks on innocents by the militants belonging to the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and a number of possible attacks could be prevented. But it was not possible to guard each and every village in the remote locations, said the Director General of Assam Police, Khagen Sarma.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sarma revealed that about a couple of days ahead of the attacks, which started on the night of May 1, the police received an intelligence input that the NDFB(S) militants might try to look for soft targets and Hindi-speaking people and Muslim community people could come under attack. He said that the police and security forces swung into action immediately and at least 80 per cent of the incidents could be prevented. He said that a number of such possible attacks in the districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Udalguri districts could be prevented because of action by police and the security forces. But the militants managed to strike in the interior places in Gossaigaon area and in Baksa district.
The DGP said that efforts are now on to prevent outbreak of ethnic clashes in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) area and it is believed that the militants escaped towards Bhutan as the area where the massacre took place in Baksa is only around 10 to 15 kms away from the international border. According to information available with the police and security forces, the militants managed to establish makeshift camps in Bhutan and they often retreat to such bases after each strike by taking advantage of the porous international border.
On the arrest of five Forest Department men, including one Ranger, Sarma said that they were accused of helping the militants involved in the attacks in Baksa. He said that the common people also lodged complaints against them.
�We have proof to ascertain that militants belonging to the NDFB(S) were involved in the attacks. But the possibility of others helping the militants to carry out the attacks cannot be ruled out and only thorough investigation would bring it to light,� he added.
The DGP said that in recent times the NDFB(S) suffered severe setbacks in counter-insurgency operations. So far this year, 20 hardcore members of the outfit were killed and 32 others surrendered. The outfit was desperate to look for soft targets to make its presence felt and that is why they were looking for soft targets,� he added.