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::Source: The Morung Express::

DIMAPUR, MAY 8, 2009: Sources from troubled North Cachar Hills in Assam today said some 12-odd armed miscreants entered a Dimasa village Friday morning and opened indiscriminate fire at the villagers, who fled to nearby jungles for safety. After the firing in which one villager was reportedly injured, the miscreants also set ablaze about ten houses. Police arrived at the scene several hours after the incident due to the hilly and rough terrain, sources added.

Although the motive behind the attack is yet to be ascertained, sources disclosed that the attack is another fall-out of the simmering tension between the Dimasas on one hand and other “indigenous” communities of NC Hills on the other , over the demand of “Dima Hasao Raji” (‘Hill kingdom of the Dimasas’) by the Dimasa insurgent group Dima Halam Daogah (DHD-J).

Another source claimed that the attack was the handiwork of the “Indigenous Peoples Rights Volunteers” comprising of non-Dimasa communities like Zemes, Kukis, Hmar and Nepalis. In another report, it was said that some 13 houses were razed. No causalities were reported. According to official sources, unidentified gunmen swooped down on Jorai village, about nine kilometers from district headquarters Haflong, early Friday morning and opened indiscriminate fire. Later, after the villagers fled their homes, the gunmen set the village on fire. Thirteen of the total 15 houses in the village were gutted in the incident.

A villager sustained gunshot wounds and was rushed to hospital at Haflong. On receiving reports of the incident, police and security personnel rushed to the spot but by then the gunmen had fled. The personnel launched a massive combing operation but the hostile terrains and poor road communications said to have made their task doubly difficult. The villagers told police that most of the gunmen were garbed in army fatigues and black outfits. It was not immediately known which group was involved in the incident.

This is the second incident of arson in the district within a fortnight. In the last week of April, cadres of a militant outfit burnt down 40 houses in a Dimasa village in the district. The outfit resorted to this action suspecting the villagers to have provided shelter to cadres of the “Black Widow” faction.
But later, on ‘realizing its mistake’ the group sought ‘forgiveness’ from the villagers.

Director General of Assam Police, GM Srivastava said additional forces had been rushed to the restive district with a senior officer of STF overseeing the situation. “The war (against the militants) is on and it’ll take sometime before we can go all-out against them,” the DGP said.

Meanwhile, the Zeliangrong Baudi (Nagaland) has expressed serious concern over the deteriorating situation in NC Hills. When contacted, Zeliangrong Baudi (Nagaland) vice president Raitu Elu told the Morung Express that whatever the differences between the various communities, no group should target innocent villagers. Elu further said that the Zeme Council’s (Assam) president, on being contacted, had expressed apprehension that some elements are taking advantage of the situation to drive a wedge between the Dimasas and Zeme Nagas.

With inputs from Newmai News Network

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