Nine more bodies were recovered today taking the toll to 32 in violence unleashed by NDFB-Songbijit militants in BTADC area in two of Assam's Bodoland Territorial Administration Districts since Thursady, as the state government decided that NIA would determine those responsible for the mayhem.
The nine bodies, including four children and two women, were recovered from Khagrabari village under Salbari sub-division adjacent to the Manas National Park in Baksa district, official sources said.
The violence started when heavily armed NDFB(S) militants entered a house and shot dead three members of a family, including two women, and injured an infant of a minority community near Ananda Bazar area in Baksa district on Thursday.
This was followed by indiscriminate firing by the insurgents at Balapara-I village in neighbouring Kokrajhar district in the early hours of Friday which left eight persons dead and injured several others.
Last night, 12 bullet-riddled bodies, including those of five women and a child, were recovered from Nankekhadrabari and Nayanguri villages in Baksa district where nearly 100 houses and a wooden bridge were set ablaze by the ultras.
Police fired in the air after a mob armed with spears and sticks tried to set ablaze a forest range office at Basbari in Baksa district this morning, the sources said.
This led hundreds of people to flee their homes with some taking shelter in two relief camps.
Of the four districts in the BTAD Baksa, Kokrajhar Udalguri and Chirang, the first two were affected.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who chaired a cabinet meeting decided to hand over investigation to the National Investigation Agency to find those responsible for the violence.
"Let the NIA investigate who is involved. None will be spared if found responsible for the violence", Gogoi told reporters after the meeting here.
"I want to coordinate with neighbouring Bhutan as the militants may hide there after committing the crime. If the NIA comes then that can be done," the chief minister said.
Gogoi said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also sought a company of COBRA commandos of the CRPF.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condemned the violence in Assam in which many a precious lives have been lost and a large number of people injured," the PMO in Delhi said in a statement.
Singh expressed "shock and grief" and said "such attacks are cowardly attempts to spread fear and terror among our citizens."
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) A P Rout said that six of the ten companies of paramilitary forces sent by the Centre had reached Assam with three of them sent to Kokrajhar and two to Baksa.
Another company was en route to Udalguri district under BTAD as a preventive measure, he said.
"There is no fresh violent incident reported today and the bodies recovered this morning are from yesterday's incident", IGP-BTAD L R Bishnoi told PTI.
Asked if shoot-at-sight orders were issued in the BTAD, Bishnoi said, "No such order has been issued. There is no logic for such an order."
The IGP said that the indefinite curfew imposed since yesterday was relaxed today in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts for four hours from 12 noon with no fresh violence reported.
The precautionary curfew promulgated in another BTAD district Chirang was also relaxed for three hours from noon, the sources said.
The Army was staging flag marches in the violence-hit areas to instill confidence among people and to bring the situation under control, the sources said.
A total of 22 people were arrested in connection with the violence, sources said.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) A P Rout told reporters that investigation had revealed the involvement of NDFB(S) in the violence.
Six of the ten companies of paramilitary forces sent by the centre to tackle the situation have reached Assam with three of them sent to Kokrajhar and two to Baksa, Rout said.
Another company was on its way to Udalguri district as a preventive measure, he said.
On operations by the army to control the situation, the ADGP said counter-insurgency operations by the troops were on for a long time, but now extra forces had been posted in view of the current situation.