Goalpara: At least seven people have been killed and nine seriously injured after suspected militants in army fatigues opened fire on a group of Diwali revelers at Assam’s Goalpara district on Sunday night.
The army has now been called in to the area, which is close to the Meghalaya border and has been tense for weeks over a conflict between two groups of tribals – the Rabhas and Garos.
At around 8 PM last evening, the attackers, suspected to be from a militant group in neighbouring Meghalaya, fired indiscriminately at a group outside a tea stall, playing cards on Diwali festival. All those killed are believed to be Rabha tribals.
The attackers were armed with automatic weapons.
“These militants in army dress came and fired indiscriminately… after the attack, they escaped to Meghalaya,” AP Raut, Additional Director General (Law and Order), Assam Police told NDTV.
Mr Raut said Goalpara had been witnessing violent clashes between the Rabha tribals and other groups in the run-up to the elections of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council elections between November 13 and 25.
The district has a significant presence of ‘Rabha’ tribals, but other groups have demanded that their areas be kept out of the Rabha-dominated autonomous council that governs the region.