“The IB inputs were shared with all police, paramilitary units concerned immediately. Besides, the Assam police special branch also had similar information,” said a Union home ministry official requesting anonymity.
The violence took on an ethnic hue on Wednesday, a day after armed Bodo rebels gunned down more than 70 adivasis and injured 15 in orchestrated attacks in different parts of the state.
At least 250 people are reported missing in one of the bloodiest incidents of ethnic violence in the northeastern state, bringing back memories of 2012 when similar conflicts between Bodo tribal groups and Bengali-Muslims in Kokrajhar and neighbouring districts left about 100 people dead and over five lakh homeless.
According to security sources, the input generated by the Guwahati branch of IB had even names of platoon commanders of the Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) who were planning the killings for ‘Adivasis and Santhals’ in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar by shooting and lobbing grenades to further weaken the law and order situation in Assam. The inputs further said the killings had been planned for Tuesday.
“Even before that, for the last two to three days, there were continuous stream of intelligence inputs by the IB and Assam police on killings being planned by Bodo militants in retaliation of killings of NDFB commanders by the security forces,” said another security official.
The official also said it was very difficult to provide security to each village in Sonitpur, some of which are not even connected by roads.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who flew to Guwahati along with his deputy Kiren Rijiju and top officials on Wednesday, said: “This was an act of terror and we will deal with it accordingly.”
The Centre has rushed around 5,000 paramilitary men to augment security in Assam. An all-out offensive is planned against the NDFB (Songbijit) faction in coordination with the state police.
“The central forces will reach the disturbed area on Thursday. Some of them have been sent there from Jharkhand where they were on poll duty,” said a senior central paramilitary force official requesting anonymity.