December 2014 Assam violence

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December 2014 Assam violence
Part of Insurgency in Northeast India
Location Assam, India
Date 23 December 2014 (2014-12-23)
Weapons AK-series weapons[1]
Deaths 85 (including retaliatory attacks)[2]
Perpetrators National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction)

In December 2014, a series of attacks by militants resulted in the deaths of more than 76 people in India.[1] The attacks took place in the Chirang, Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts on 23 December 2014. They have been attributed to the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland: NDFB(S).

The Adivasi people of Assam are mostly tea plantation workers; some of them are the descendants of labourers brought to Assam by the British colonial rulers, while others are relatively recent migrants from other parts of India. The NDFB claims to represent the Bodo people, who are native to Assam; it has fought a secessionist war with the government for the establishment of a sovereign Bodoland. Although a number of NDFB militants had agreed to a ceasefire and peace talks in the 2000s, the NDFB(S) faction led by I K Songbijit has refused to give up militancy.

In May 2014, the government attributed a similar attack on Muslim migrants to NDFB(S). The December attacks, described as one of the worst massacres in the history of North-East India,[3] led to widespread protests by tribal people. The protests turned violent, leading to three more deaths at the hands of the police. The tribal people also killed fourteen Bodos in retaliation.[2] On 26 December, the Government of India declared the launch of Operation All Out to eliminate the Bodo militants and deployed as many as 9,000 soldiers of the Indian Army and the Central Reserve Police Force.[1][2][3]

Background[edit]

The Bodo people are an indigenous tribe native to Assam in North-East India. The Adivasis, indigenous groups sometimes discriminated against as an aboriginal or lesser indigenous population,[4] belong to the Santhal, Bhil and Munda tribes.[5] These tribes are indigenous to East-Central India, and the Adivasis mainly work as tea plantation workers in tea gardens of Assam. Some of the Adivasis in Assam (mainly the Santhals) are descendants of the tea plantation workers brought to Assam by the British colonial government, while others are recent settlers.[6]

The National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), a militant group, has been indulging in violence against non-Bodo settlers since the late 1980s. The group signed a ceasefire with the Indian government in 2005, but one of its factions — NDFB(S), which is led by IK Songbijit — has opposed peace talks with the government. NDFB(S) warned of retaliation when the Assam Police launched an operation against them. On 21 December 2014, the Assam Police killed two NDFB militants.[7]

Violence[edit]

The NDFB militants attacked at 6:25pm on 23 December 2014 in the three different districts of Assam: Kokrajhar district, Sonitpur district and Chirang district. They killed around 65 unarmed tribals, including 21 women and 18 children. The attacks happened during preparations for Christmas; most of the militants as well as tribal victims were Christians.[8][9]

The next day thousands of tribal people marched in protest. At Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district, the police fired rounds to disperse the crowd when the protest march turned violent. The police firing killed three tribals. In retaliation, the tribals killed three Bodo people in a village near Behali in Sonitpur district. The total death toll reached 85.[1] Both communities burned houses and damaged properties at different parts of the state. The violence also spread to Udalguri district.[10][11][12][13]

Aftermath[edit]

A curfew was imposed in parts of the three districts. 55 companies of central paramilitary forces were deployed. The investigation was assigned to the National Investigation Agency.[7]

The Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, along with the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, and the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Jual Oram, visited the state and met Assam's Chief Minister (Tarun Gogoi) and other officials. They reviewed the situation and agreed to necessary steps.[7]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief and announced an ex-gratia of 2 lakh (US$2,800) to each of the families of the dead and 50,000 (US$700) to the seriously injured, while the Assam government has announced ex-gratia of 5 lakh (US$7,000) to families of the dead and 50,000 (US$700) to those injured. The Prime Minister's Office also announced 86 lakh (US$120,000) to the Assam government.[7] About 72,675 people had been shifted to relief camps by 26 December.[14]

Operation All Out[edit]

For Operation All Out Kashmir launched in 2017 see also Operation All Out (Kashmir)

On 26 December 2014, the Indian Government declared that they had launched "Operation All Out" to eliminate the Bodo militants. This was declared by the Chief of the Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, after meeting the Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, on 26 December. About 5,000 personnel from the paramilitary CRPF and 4,620 from the Indian Army have already been deployed and have been ordered to eliminate the remaining militants, who are estimated to number around 80. In addition, around 2,000 personnel from the border force Sashastra Seema Bal have been deployed to help maintain stability. The Indian Army has been using its helicopters to carry out aerial surveys of the affected regions.[1][2][3][14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "After Assam killings, all-out war begins against Bodo militants". Indian Today. 26 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Digambar Patowary (26 December 2014). "Assam violence: Securitymen launch offensive against Bodo militants". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Urmi Bhattacharjee, Deepshikha Ghosh (26 December 2014). "Want Results in Assam, Centre Tells Army: 10 Developments". NDTV. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "A History of Discrimination, Conflict, and Resistance". pucl.org. 2003-02-01. Retrieved 2014-12-29. 
  5. ^ "Assam: Death toll touches 70; Adivasis retaliate, kill 5 Bodo militants". Indian Express. 2014-12-25. 
  6. ^ "Killings reveal changing trend in Adivasi settlements". The Times of India. 2014-12-28. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Assam toll rises to 71, Rajnath reviews situation". Deccan Herald. 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Assam violence: Adivasis retaliate, kill 2 Bodos, torch a village". The Times of India. 2014-12-24. Retrieved 2014-12-26. 
  9. ^ "Assam killings take on ethnic hue: Over 70 killed in Bodo attacks, 250 missing". Hindustan Times. 2014-12-24. 
  10. ^ "Death toll in Assam militant attacks rises to 48 with recovery of more bodies". ToI. Times of India. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "34 killed in NDFB(S) attacks in two Assam districts: Police". Guwahati: Economic Times. Press Trust of India. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 Dec 2014. 
  12. ^ "Armed Indian tribal group kills villagers". Al Jazeera (Central & South Asia). Al Jazeera. 23 Dec 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Rajnath visits Guwahati, high alert sounded in Assam after Bodo militant attack kills 68 people". IBNLive. 24 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Assam violence: Army chief vows to intensify operations against militants". The Times of India. 26 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Prabin Kalita (24 December 2014). "Centre, state launch all-out offensive against militant group that carried out deadly Assam attack". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 

Coordinates: 26°08′24″N 91°46′12″E / 26.1400°N 91.7700°E / 26.1400; 91.7700