The shocking killings by unidentified gunmen near Dhola in Assam’s Tinsukia district have sent shockwaves across Assam and elsewhere. But how did the grisly killings take place? And who were behind the killings? Alhough the initial finger of suspicion fell on the hardline faction of the ULFA — or the ULFA (Independent) — the rebel outfit distanced itself from the murders, claiming it is in no way responsible for the murders. If the ULFA(I) isn’t involved, then who is behind the massacre?
The death toll could have been six if the sixth person hadn’t had a miraculous escape. Sahadev Namasudra — who saw death from close range but was lucky to have survived the carnage — made a minute-by-minute description of how the gunmen carried out the massacre.
“There were around 5-6 gunmen who were wearing Army fatigues. They came and took us to the place near the river. They were speaking in Assamese among themselves but spoke in Hindi while conversing with us,” Namasudra told News Live, and added: “They told us to sit in a line and then started firing in the air for a few minutes before training the guns at us.”
Sahadev said the area was filled with smoke after the gunmen began firing at them and he jumped into a pit nearby and pretended to be dead.
“The area was filled with smoke and it became difficult to see anything for sometime. I was at the end of the line and jumped into a pit, pretending to be dead. It was only after the assailants walked away that I mustered the courage to get out of the pit,” he said.
“I waited for sometime and then ran towards our houses. I told people what had happened and returned to the place where we were shot at. Four of the five persons had already died while Subal Das was alive,” Sahadev added.
The lucky survivor said Subal died while they were trying to take him home on a handcart.
“Police arrived more than an hour late,” Sahadev further said.