Militants gun down three Dimasa tribals

200 residents
take shelter at
relief camp
Night curfew imposed in the district

GUWAHATI: Suspected militants gunned down three Dimasa tribals and set 43 houses ablaze in a pre-dawn raid on a village in southern Assam’s North Cachar Hills on Saturday, taking the toll in a series of attacks on villages in the district since April 28 to seven.

Two persons were killed instantaneously when the attackers, in battle fatigues and heavily armed, resorted to indiscriminate firing at Phiding, while one of the injured died in hospital. About 200 residents fled the village and took shelter in a relief camp opened by the district administration in a nearby village. Night curfew has been clamped in the district.

Phiding comes under the Mahur police station. The victims have been identified as Nipunjoy Dibragede (22), Thungjen Dibragede and (30) Atolal Dibragede (44).

The attack came a day after a raid on Joraibasti near Haflong. On April 28, four Dimasa women were killed when suspected militants raided Yeah and set fire to all the houses there. Police are still to establish the identity of the militant group behind the attacks.

Firms plan to quit Four contractors have conveyed to the Assam government that they are planning to withdraw from the NC Hills Highway Project, commissioned by the National Highway Authority of India, following the kidnapping and killing of their workers and engineers by insurgents. The contractors are Gammon India, Valecha Engineering, TBL and Continental Engineering Corporation.

“The major road contractors…are facing a huge resistance from the insurgents operating in the area. As a consequence, they are finding it impossible to execute work on the Rs. 800-crore project. Gammon India, Valecha Engineering, TBL and Continental Engineering Corporation are now considering absolute withdrawal from the project, since despite several requests, the authorities are not able to protect the workers. This was conveyed to the authorities at a meeting called by the Additional Chief Secretary to review the development of the NC Hills area,” the companies said in a release.

“The development of the entire NC Hills area is in jeopardy owing to the insurgency,” said S.Y. Warty of Gammon India. “The insurgent groups are controlling the area and are asking for money which we cannot pay.”

Dinesh Valecha, director of Valecha Engineering, said; “A series of events has occurred in the past couple of years. On two occasions, engineers and other staff of Gammon India were shot dead. The staff members of Valecha Engineering Limited were kidnapped and held for 46 days.”

Hsiung Chiang of Continental Engineering Corporation said: “Past incidents have confirmed that the presence of security [personnel] provided by the government has been ineffective in dealing with the insurgents. Unless effective measures are taken to control the activities of the insurgent groups, it is not possible to carry out even maintenance of the existing roads and bridges.”