Two armed men, suspected to be militants, died in a hospital in Assam’s Cachar district hours after a mob assaulted them on Saturday, The Indian Express reported. Their identity is yet to be ascertained, but it is suspected they belonged to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), said Cachar Superintendent of Police Rakesh Roushan.
The incident took place at a market close to Assam’s border with Manipur. It came just two days after unidentified gunmen suspected to be members of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) killed five people and injured one in Tinsukia district.
Around 11.15 am on Saturday, the two men reportedly stopped at the market to ask villagers for directions. “Villagers got suspicious by seeing the large cache of arms and ammunition,” said Roushan. “They felt the men had come to attack the locality. The two were gheraoed and thrashed.”
By the time the police arrived on the scene, the mob had assaulted the militants and they were seriously injured. The two were taken to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, where doctors declared them dead on arrival.
Cachar Additional Superintendent of Police Rakesh Reddy told the Hindustan Times that the militants were carrying two AK56 rifles, two Insas rifles, a Chinese light machine gun, a Chinese hand grenade, a 12-bore gun, and a large quantity of ammunition. “The cache of weapons found on them has made us suspect that they were extremists,” he said.
Meanwhile, the police on Saturday detained more than 1,200 people for their alleged involvement in a statewide shutdown called by various organisations protesting against the killings in Tinsukia, Northeast Now reported. The Silchar District Congress had also called a 12-hour strike in Cachar on Saturday.
The shutdown mostly affected life and movement in the Barak Valley, which is predominantly inhabited by Bengali-speaking people, and a few parts of the Brahmaputra Valley.
A delegation of Trinamool Congress leaders on Sunday met the families of the five people who were killed and gave Rs 1 lakh each to the families as compensation.
The United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) has denied any involvement in the killings even as the Assam Police detained former leaders Jiten Dutta and Mrinal Hazarika for questioning. An unidentified police officer said a linkman of ULFA’s anti-talks faction, Jintu Gogoi, was detained on Saturday from Tinsukia district, The Shillong Times reported.