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New Delhi Correspondent
The Assam state police on Saturday made the first arrest in connection with the killing of five Bangla-speaking people by suspected militants of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-Independent faction) at Bisonimukh village of Tinsukia district.
The arrested man, an alleged linkman for the United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), was identified as Bhabananda Gogoi, alias
Jintu, alias Diklai from a place not far from the site of the killing, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agrawal said. Gogoi has been remanded to five-day police remand, he said adding he was arrested in May also for carrying an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) but subsequently got bail.
ULFA(I) in a media statement denied any involvement in the killing.
Tinsukia Superintendent of Police Prasanta Sagar Changmai said Gogoi was apprehended following intelligence pointing his involvement the killing as he allegedly provided logistics support to the killers.
Shyamlal Biswas (60), brothers Ananta (18) and Abhinash Biswas (25), Subal Das (60) and Dhananjay Namasudra (23) were killed on Thursday night. While Shyamlal ran a grocery store and Ananta a mobile recharge and photocopy store; the other three were farmers. Shadeb Namashudra (17) survived since he fell into the stream and the militants assumed him to be dead.
A senior Tinsukia police officer said the manner of the killing on Thursday night had similarities with the December 2017 killing of the president of a local village defence party (VDP) and his son – by ULFA(Independent) in the district.
There are reports of an uptick in ULFA activities, especially recruitment of cadres, in Tinsukia.
Meanwhile, a four-member delegation of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress today met the bereaved families of the five Bangla-speaking men who were gunned down by suspected ULFA (Independent faction) insurgents on November 1 and expressed their empathy.
The delegation, headed by Leader of the Trinamool’s parliamentary party in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, delegation members assured the family members that Trinamool Congress is with them in this hour of grief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has assured all help to them.
The delegation visited three different homes and spent nearly half an hour in each home and assured the families that the culprits of this hate crime will be brought to book. The delegation members consoled the bereaved family members. The other members of the Trinamool team were Rajya Sabha MP Nadimul Haque, Lok Sabha MP Mamatabala Thakur and legislator Mahua Moitra.
The members of the Trinamool delegation also visited the spot where the five innocents were gunned down.
The ULFA (Independent) has denied its involvement in the killing.
Trinamool Congress has demanded that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal resign for “failing” to ensure safety of the citizens and asked for a court-monitored inquiry into the killings.
It may be recalled that a Trinamool Congress delegation of six lawmakers had travelled to Silchar, an area of Assam, dominated by Bangla-speaking people, on August 2 this year to assess the situation in the state following the publication of the complete draft final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 30 but was stopped at the airport and sent back the next day.