Seven gunned down in Assam village, night curfew on

AssamThe injured undergoing treatment at Guwahati Medical College. DASARATH DEKA

Suspected militants belonging to the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) on Sunday night gunned down seven persons and left several people injured at a village in Assam's Goalpara district, close to the border with Meghalaya.

The militants, reportedly dressed in military fatigues, swooped down on the remote border village of Gendamari under Agia police station and started firing indiscriminately on the people, killing six of them on the spot. Another died on the way to the hospital.

The authorities have clamped indefinite night curfew in the area. Superintendent of Police (Goalpara) Nitul Gogoi said a massive manhunt has been launched. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who is currently in London on a personal visit, meanwhile, directed DGP J N Choudhury to act against GNLA militants, allegedly responsible for the killings and has sought the help of Meghalaya Police to conduct a joint operation to arrest the culprits.

Preliminary reports suggested that the Garo militants were opposed to holding of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) elections in the villages which were inhabited by the Garo community people. The elections are scheduled for later this month. Some organisations representing non-Rabha communities in Goalpara and parts of Kamrup district too have been opposing the elections in areas that are not inhabited by people of other communities.

Gendamari village, located 30 kilometres from the district headquarters, is not accessible by motorable road. Moreover, there was no power supply at the time of the attack, sources said. The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 6 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and free medical treatment for the injured.

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