SOS: 3 killed in NC Hills

Guwahati | May 11  : The situation in trouble-torn North Cachar Hills in Assam is worsening with latest reports received here that three people have been killed, several others injured and more than 30 houses of a village razed. The people have been gripped by fear psychosis that in the next few days there would be large-scale ethnic violence if concrete and drastic measures are not taken immediately.

On Saturday, in the ongoing violence three persons were killed while some 38 houses were torched reportedly by Zeme youths at a Dimasa village in restive North Cachar Hills. According to official sources, the incident took place at Phoiding village, around 40 kilometers from district headquarters Haflong, around 6 am.

The latest spate of violence has prompted the administration to clamp prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in the entire district.

Ethnic violence has been going on between the Zeme Nagas and the Dimasa community for sometime now in NC Hills district of Assam. A number of Zeme Nagas were killed earlier in the early part of this year. Even though additional forces have been rushed to the district as a preemptive step initiated by the Tarun Gogoi government, there has been no respite in the violence.

Reports said a group of gunmen swooped down on the village and fired indiscriminately from sophisticated weapons. While two persons died on the spot, another succumbed to injuries in a hospital. Three more injured persons are  undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mahur, sources said.

They added that the houses were set ablaze when the panic-stricken villagers ran for life. Senior officials of the administration rushed to the site to take stock of the situation.

Mention may be made that on Friday, unidentified gunmen torched 13 houses in Dimasa-dominated Jorai village in the district. One person sustained bullet wounds when the militants opened indiscriminate fire. A hitherto unknown ‘Citizens Rights Protection Volunteers’ (CRPV) had claimed responsibility for both the attacks. The group called up local media and threatened to continue with the attacks on the Dimasas, who are in majority in the district.

Sources said that CRPV was a newly-formed insurgent group led by Zeme Nagas and it launched the attack to avenge the purported ban on procurement of rice. The CRPV alleged that the ban was imposed by Dimasa outfit, now in ceasefire, Dima Haolam Daogah (Dilip Nunisa faction). A spokesman of DHD, when contacted, however, dismissed the allegation. Police said that they were trying to find out the identity of the group involved in the incident.

It may be mentioned that earlier in the past a number of lives were lost in ethnic clashes between the two communities in NC Hills. The latest violent incidents are seen as the prelude to full-scale communal riots in the district.