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Dhola mass killings: Intellectual urges for NIA-level enquiry
After the killing of five Bengali-speaking people by unidentified gunmen on Thursday in Tinsukia district of Assam, protests erupted against the brutality across the state.

Initially, various quarters suspected involvement of the Paresh Barua-led anti-talks fraction of the ULFA in the killings. However, the banned out-fit had on Thursday denied its role in the brutality. Meanwhile, the police arrested two leaders of pro-talks fraction of the ULFA for allegedly, making provocative and objectionable comments against a community people before the incident.

A group of six gunmen in military fatigue had on Thursday at around 8 pm killed five persons in Bisonimukh of the Dhola area, Tinsukia. According to an eyewitness, the killers spoke to them in Hindi. The gunmen had taken away six persons from a small grocery shop to an iron bridge located near the iconic Dr Bhupen Hazarika bridge and after a few minutes the miscreants fired indiscriminately on them, the witness told media.

Later the police had, reportedly, recovered from the spot around 30 rounds of blank cartridges of AK series rifle. On Friday, the police arrested Jiten Dutta and Mrinal Hazarika, two leaders of a pro-talk fraction of the ULFA, for allegedly making provocative and objectionable comments against a community before the barbaric incident occurred.

Some organisations and people have started to stage protests against their arrests and demanded their immediate release. Anup Chetia, another pro-talks fraction ULFA leader, also condemned arrests of Dutta and Hazarika, expressing apprehensions that would disrupt the on-going peace-talks between the Centre and the outfit. On the other hand, various organisations and a few prominent people have alleged that the state BJP-led government has showed discrimination in dealing with the matter. According to them some BJP leaders including the party's MLAs Shiladitya Deb and Mrinal Saikia had also made provocative and objectionable comments even before the arrested pro-talks ULFA leaders.

Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal on Friday appealed everybody to abstain from making any objectionable comments in any form including in social media. The police are yet to confirm identities of the killers. DGP Kuladhar Saikia informed media that identities of the killers could be revealed only after the enquiry is over.

Noted litterateur Dr Nagen Saikia has urged all to maintain restraint. He also urged the BJP to avoid polarisation politics. Noted critic Dr Hiren Gohain on behalf of an outfit known as Asam Sangrami Mancha, addressing a press conference on Saturday in Guwahati, demanded a National Investigation Agency-level or similar high level enquiry into the matter. He expressed doubt that the killings could be a conspiracy of some powerful persons.

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