The centre today announced the launch of a major offensive against National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militants in Assam militants jointly by police and paramilitary forces and army in the wake of the group killing over 65 people in two districts of Assam.
The death toll in attacks by heavily armed Bodo militants of Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam rose to 65, including 18 children on Wednesday.
Heavily armed militants belonging to the Songbijit faction of the NDFB swooped down on remote Adivasi villages of the three districts and killed the inhabitants on Tuesday evening, IGP (Law and Order) SN Singh said.
The centre has rushed an additional 5,000 paramilitary troops to Assam.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh and attended by top officials of ministries of home, defence and paramilitary forces, sources said.
"This was an act of terror and we will deal with it accordingly... Whatever action is required, we will take," Singh told reporters after the meeting.
Describing the attack on Adivasi villagers by the NDFB militants as "very unfortunate and cowardly act", he said 50 companies (5,000 personnel) of paramilitary forces have been rushed to Assam to assist the state government to deal with the situation arising out of the violence in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts.
The sources said the Army, which has its 4 Corps headquarters in Sonitpur district, has been asked to mobilise troops for the operations against the NDFB militants.
Singh, accompanied by minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, will take stock of the situation there in the evening following a directive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, Advivasis retaliated today by torching houses and attacking a police station during protests that left three persons dead allegedly in police firing.
A seven-km stretch of National Highway 15 was blocked by Adivasi protestors near Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur.
Police initially attempted to disperse the protestors by resorting to lathicharge, but opened fire when the situation worsened, the official said.
Three persons were killed and several others injured in police action, he said.
Angry protestors also set ablaze twenty houses allegedly belonging to the people of the Bodo community in Phuloguriin Sonitpur district.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the attack and termed the killing of innocent people as an act of cowardice.
The PM also sanctioned ex-gratia relief of Rs2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs50,000 to each of the seriously injured.
An amount of Rs86 lakh is being released to the state government from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF), a PMO statement said.