India: NDFB: Mindless Mayhem :: South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR),Vol. No. 9.19
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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 9, No. 19, November 15 2010

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NDFB: Mindless Mayhem
Anshuman Behera
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

At least 24 persons, including 18 non-locals (mostly Hindi-speaking people), were killed in 11 separate attacks across five Bodo dominated Districts of Assam, by the militants of the anti-talks faction (ATF) of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), between November 8 and November 10, 2010.

On November 8, the NDFB militants killed 19 people and left at least another 11 injured in seven strikes within three hours, commencing at 5.30 in the evening. The strikes were carried out in the Sonitpur, Kokrajhar and Baksa Districts.

On November 9, the terrorists killed two non-local traders in Kokrajhar District and a local cycle mechanic in Chirang District. A civilian injured in the November 8 attacks also succumbed to his injuries during the day.

The militants struck again and shot dead a Hindi-speaking woman in Kokrajhar on November 10.

These have been the worst attacks in the Assam since October 30, 2008, when 87 persons were killed and about 200 injured in nine near-simultaneous blasts in the State capital Dispur and the adjoining Guwahati city and another three Districts - Kokrajhar, Barpeta, and Bongaigaon.

Ostensibly, the latest round of killings was in retaliation to the killing of a NDFB-ATF cadre on November 8, 2010 by the 51 Gorkha Regiment of the Indian Army. An unnamed leader of the NDFB on November 9 stated, "We killed these people in retaliation to the killing of an innocent Bodo youth by the Army on Monday [November 8, 2010] morning. The Government should not take us lightly." Meanwhile, the 'Organising Secretary' of the outfit, B. Naison, issued a fresh threat on November 11 to all communities residing in the Bodo belt, Security Forces (SFs) or "other Indian communities", warning of more "heinous and horrible results" if they make "any mistake or crime against the NDFB." He also urged the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), the Bodo Sahitya Sabha (BSS), the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) and other Bodo organisations to protest alleged killings of 'innocent' Bodos by the Police and SFs.

Earlier, on November 1, 2010 the 'Deputy Chief' of the NDFB-ATF, 'Lieutenant' B. Jwngkhang, had issued a warning to the State Government:
From today onwards, if any innocent NDFB cadres were killed by the Indian Army in the name of fake encounter, the armed wing of the NDFB will take action against any Indian. An innocent Bodo will be equal to 20 Indians or maybe more and we don't care who they are, maybe Indian civilian or Indian Forces. Anytime and any moment we are ready to strike. Remember this warning, and be serious before killing any innocent Bodo people.

This warning had come in the aftermath of the killing of an NDFB anti-talk faction militant by the SFs at Singirmari under Kazigaon Police Station in Parbhatjhora subdivision of Kokrajhar District on October 29, 2010.

Following the November 1 warning, a media report quoted intelligence sources as stating, "The retaliation line is only for public consumption... it is actually a much larger and old game plan - of a homeland for the Bodo community which it can achieve if they attain majority status in areas they have in mind for the separate state or silence those likely to oppose. This is borne out by the systematic attacks on non-Bodos." Soon after, security was beefed up in the State. The NDFB-ATF, nevertheless, managed to carry out the killings.

Ever since the 'President' of the NDFB-ATF, Ranjan Daimary, was handed over to the Indian Administration by the Bangladesh Authorities on May 1, 2010, second rank leaders of the group have been trying to make their presence felt. P. K. Dutta, Superintendent of Police of the Kokrajhar District, on May 24, 2010, quoted a senior leader of the NDFB-anti-talk faction who was arrested on May 16, 2010, as disclosing, "There is no instruction or information coming from the leaders after the arrest of Daimary, which has resulted in confusion among the members on their roles. The NDFB [-ATF] was still well-equipped with sophisticated weapons and can strike hard. Though its chairman was arrested the organization still has top leaders like I.K. Songbijit, the chief of the NDFB [ATF] 'army staff', to carry forward the organization in Daimary's absence".

The NDFB-ATF has also been involved in at least five failed attempts to engineer a major terrorist incident by carrying out bomb blasts in major cities in Assam since May 31, 2010, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database:

October 14: A portion of a railway track was damaged when suspected NDFB-ATF militants triggered a blast near Singimari, five kilometers from Kokrajhar railway station in Kokrajhar District.
September 8: A goods train carrying food grain from Rangia to Lakhimpur was derailed by NDFB-ATF militants exploding an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
August 25: The SFs foiled an attempt by the NDFB-ATF militants to blow up the railway track between Kamakhya and Jogighopa railway stations following recovery of a powerful bomb from a group of NDFB-ATF cadres.
July 8: The Garib Rath Express from Guwahati to Kolkata was derailed because of a powerful explosion caused by the militants of the NDFB-ATF in Kokrajhar District resulting in the death of one civilian and injury to six others.
July 6: The SFs foiled a plan by NDFB-ATF terrorists to carry out blasts in different places in Assam following the recovery of a huge quantity of explosive materials in Udalgiri District. The recovered consignment included 30 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, 24 batteries and a bundle of flexible wires.

It was on January 1, 2009, that the NDFB split into two. On this day, the NDFB expelled its founding 'President', Ranjan Daimary alias D. R. Nabla, replacing him with B. Sungthgra alias Dhiren Boro as its new chief. The new NDFB 'President', Sungthgra declared that the NDFB would have no truck with the former chief and his accomplices. The NDFB statement further declared,
The NDFB, in a unanimous decision of the national council, has expelled D. R. Nabla and his associates with immediate effect as a disciplinary action. We are shocked and surprised that Mr. D.R. Nabla alias Ranjan Daimary, as per the statement of Ajay Basumatary, who has been recently arrested along with three others in Goalpara District, is proved to be directly involved in a series of bomb blasts in Assam on October 30 where many innocent civilians were brutally killed without any reason. The killing was inhuman and unfortunate which reveals nothing but his love for sadism. He not only committed crimes against humanity but also violated the ceasefire which he himself declared unilaterally on October 8, 2004. The act is undoubtedly an act of terrorism and can never be part of revolutionary struggle.

Later, the Ranjan Daimary faction constituted its new 'executive committee' with Ranjan Daimary as the 'President', Dinthi Gwra Narzary as 'General Secretary', 'Captain' Sangbijit as 'Commander-of-Staff', Barbai Basumatary as 'Assistant Publicity Secretary' and Rifikhang Goyary as 'Finance Secretary'. Since then, the Daimary faction has been involved in as many as 134 violent incidents, in which at least 223 persons, including 150 militants, 61 civilians and 12 SF personnel have been killed. Some of the major incidents involving the outfit include:

October 3, 2010: The Police shot dead four NDFB-ATF militants during an encounter at a thickly forested area at Dekatan in Dhemaji District and rescued an abducted trader, Cotton Nandy.
July 26, 2010: Four Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel, including an assistant commander, were killed and three others were injured in an ambush by NDFB-ATF cadres at Amlaiguri under Panbari Police Station in Chirang District along Bhutan border.
October 4, 2009: At least 11 persons were killed in a attack carried out by suspected NDFB-ATF terrorists at Balichand area under Biswanath Chariali Police Station in Sonitpur District. At least 10 others were injured in the attack.
May 19: SFs shot dead six NDFB-ATF cadre in a jungle under Dokmoka outpost of Howraghat Police Station in the Karbi Anglong District.

The NDFB-ATF's killing spree is backed by a campaign of abduction for extortion. According to a July 30, 2010, report, the Tea Association of India (TAI) sent a distress message to the Assam Government seeking security in the wake of extortion notices being served by the faction and by the All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), to several of its member gardens in Sonitpur and Darrang Districts. Sources in TAI, which has around 90 member gardens in Assam, disclosed that the NDFB-ATF had recently served extortion notices to some executives of the Chikonmati and Panbari tea estates. A few days earlier, militants armed with pistols and revolvers had abducted a staff member of the Panbari Estate, head clerk Kamal Das. Das was, however, released the next morning on payment of ransom, the sources added.

Leaders of the NDFB-ATF are also reported to have toured Nepal to examine prospects of setting up bases there to carry forward their armed movement for a 'sovereign' Bodoland, just months after setting up their 'general headquarters' in Myanmar. An August 5, 2010, report claimed that available documents indicated that the NDFB-ATF's 'general meeting' held in July had decided on the move. A six-member group under the leadership of 'Lieutenant' G. Onthao then visited Nepal for a 'survey'. "The outfit has already set up its 'general headquarters' in Myanmar some time ago with the help of Manipur-based insurgent outfit Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)," a senior Police official disclosed. George Basumatary, a key accused in the October 30, 2010, serial blasts in the State, is currently looking after the 'general headquarters' at Myanmar with about 40 cadres.

Amidst these developments, the 'President', Ranjan Daimary, has constantly been changing his stand. On May 4, 2010, he declared, "I am ready for talks with the Government… I have been rigid (over the sovereignty demand), but now I have to do a rethink." On November 2, 2010, however, possibly encouraged by his group's capacities to strike even in his absence, he backtracked, stating, "Right now, I cannot say anything on that."

There are indications, however, that his position may have been somewhat eroded within the NDFB-ATF. On November 2, 2010, when asked to explain his stand on the threat issued by the outfit on November 1, he confessed, "I have no links with other leaders of my organization for the past few months. I cannot say anything on the issue now. "B.J. Mahanta, Inspector General of Assam Police (Law and Order), claimed, on November 10, 2010, "Daimary had literally lost control over the outfit and some of its cadres had been carrying out mayhem in the State. The recent attacks by the outfit were done under the leadership of some of its top cadres like B. Jwngkhang alias John, the 'deputy commander' of the Bodoland Army, 'army commander' Songbijit and senior cadres like Sagrid, Bidai, Jwmwi and Sotbangsa".

It is evident that the NDFB-ATF will have to be dealt with sternly. In an official statement issued after Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram reviewed the situation on November 13, the Union Government acknowledged, "The anti-talk faction of the NDFB claimed responsibility for the killings. Its leader Ranjan Daimary is in judicial custody, but seems unwilling to control the criminal actions of his faction." Sending out a strong message, the statement added that the Central and Assam Governments would not countenance any group that engages in wanton criminal acts.

A second faction of the NDFB is already formally in talks with the Central Government and the Government of Assam. Other Bodo organizations, such as the BPF, BSS and ABSU, will have to be taken into confidence well before the Bodo National Convention to be held on November 18-19, 2010, if the NDFB-ATF is to be successfully isolated and delegitimized. The succession of massacres by the NDFB-ATF are not only evidence of a security failure, but also the a persistent failure of political management that has given a continuing lease of life to an otherwise discredited movement.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
November 8-14, 2010



Security Force Personnel







Jammu &      Kashmir


Left-wing Extremism










West Bengal


Total (INDIA)








Khyber Pakhtunkhwa





Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


JeI Chief Motiur Rahman Nizami is the man behind 1971 Pabna District mass murders, reveals ICT probe team: The detained Ameer (chief) of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Motiur Rahman Nizami masterminded the massacres in Santhia sub-district and elsewhere in the Pabna District in 1971, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) revealed on November 7. "In our primary investigation, we found that Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami was the mastermind behind the massacres," said Mohammad Abdur Razzak of the ICT probe team. Daily Star, November 8, 2010.

ULFA paid USD 99 million bribe for arms passage in Bangladesh, says former State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar: An Indian militant group and the embassy of a South Asian country bribed "higher-ups" in the former Khaleda Zia Government to ensure safe passage of a huge arms cache that landed in Chittagong port in April 2004, former State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar told investigators on November 11. The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), operating in Northeast India, had teamed with the embassy that was not named, to pay BDT 7 billion (USD 99.4 million) for transshipment of 10 truckloads of arms, ammunition and explosives, said the detained former minister. Babar was "in the know of things" but was helpless as there were orders from "higher-ups", he told officials of the Criminal Investigation Department. Assam Tribune, November 11, 2010.


Anti-talk faction of NDFB kills 24 persons in Assam: At least 24 persons, including 18 non-locals (mostly Hindi-speaking people), were killed in 11 separate attacks across five Districts by the militants of the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-ant-talk) between November 8 and November 10. A cadre of the NDFB-anti-talk faction was also killed by the Security Forces on November 8. Hindustan Times, November 9-11, 2010.

577 civilians and 260 SF personnel killed in Naxal violence in 2010, says Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken: A total of 577 civilians have been killed while more than 260 Security Forces (SFs) personnel lost their lives across the country in Naxal [Left Wing Extremist] violence in 2010 up to October 31. During the same period, 137 cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) were killed with the maximum of them in Chhattisgarh (72) followed by West Bengal (37) and Jharkhand (12). The information was given by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken through a written reply in the Lok Sabha on November 9. Hindustan Times, November 10, 2010.

LeT operatives attended Maoist meet, says Chhattisgarh Police Chief Vishwa Ranjan: Two operatives of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) attended a meeting of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) near Bastar region of Chhattisgarh early 2010, Director General of Police (DGP) Vishwa Ranjan said on November 10. "Two LeT operatives attended a CPI-Maoist central committee meeting as observers, held sometime in April-May this year. They met in a jungle inside Orissa, close to Bastar," said the DGP. "This information is based on a single source, and needs to be cross-checked," he added. Times of India, November 11, 2010.

Terrorist safe-havens within Pakistani borders are unacceptable, says US President Barack Obama: US President Barack Obama on November 8 endorsed India's concerns over terrorism emanating from Pakistan. "We will continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice", he said. Also in a joint Statement issued along with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Obama gave a call against terrorism and said that all terror networks, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), must be defeated. The Hindu, November 8-9, 2010.

At least 500 terrorists still active across Jammu and Kashmir, says DGP Kuldeep Khoda: The Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda on November 11 said that at least 500 militants of various groups are still active across the State and added that Security Forces (SFs) are on high alert to prevent fresh infiltration from across the border. Times of India, November 11, 2010.


52 militants and six SFs among 61 persons killed during the week in FATA: 10 militants were killed and three Security Force (SF) personnel were injured in an encounter in Toor Kanrhi area of Orakzai Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on November 13. In addition, five militants were killed when a US drone fired four missiles at a car in Ahmadkhel area of North Waziristan Agency.

Four militants and a soldier were killed while another soldier suffered injuries when militants attacked SFs in Kareer area of Mohmand Agency on November 12.

Eight suspected militants were killed and five others injured when US drones fired eight missiles into a house in Guli Khel area along Afghanistan border of North Waziristan Agency on November 11. Also, six militants and a soldier were killed in an encounter in Goak area of Orakzai Agency. Further, three militants, a civilian and a Khasadar Force (local tribal force) trooper, Naib Subedar Qadar Khan, were killed while three soldiers received injuries during search operations in Qandharo, Habibzai and Sandokhel localities of Safi tehsil (revenue unit) in Mohmand Agency.

Gunship helicopters on November 10 pounded militants' positions in Orakzai Agency along the Afghanistan border and killed 18 militants and injured another 22. Daily Times; Dawn; The News, November 9-15, 2010.

22 persons killed in a blast at CID office in Sindh: At least 22 persons, including 12 Security Force personnel and 10 civilians, were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive-laden truck blew up inside the head office of the Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is located inside the main red zone of Karachi in Sindh, on the night of November 11. Daily Times, November 9-15, 2010.

Pak-Afghan border heart of al Qaeda, says United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates: The United States (US) Defence Secretary Robert Gates on November 9 said that the "heart" of al Qaeda remained in the Afghan-Pakistan border area even as the network spreads its influence to places like Yemen and Somalia. Daily Times, November 10, 2010.

TTP plans to attack shrines on Eid-ul-Azha, says report: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has planned to attack mosques, shrines and Imambargahs (Shia place of worship) during Eid-ul-Azha (festival of sacrifice) prayers, especially in remote and rural areas across the country.

Meanwhile, the TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) have planned to carry out suicide attacks in Islamabad and other parts of the country. According to intelligence information, TTP 'commander' Qari Momin sent four suicide bombers to attack Eid congregations in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad. The LeJ is also likely to target Eid congregations, mosques, Imambargahs (Shia place of worship), shrines, Police and Army establishments and places of worship belonging to minorities. Daily Times, November 9-13, 2010.

Pakistan got PKR 112 million foreign assistance for war on terror, says Interior Minister Rehman Malik: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on November 10 told the National Assembly that the Finance Ministry has provided PKR 112.26 million from foreign assistance in the annual budget of the Interior Ministry during the financial year 2009-10 in relation to the ongoing war on terror. He further said that PKR 11,584,000 was received for operational support to the Interior Division and Air Wing, including cost of food items. Daily Times, November 11, 2010.

Coup in Pakistan a real possibility, says US terrorism expert Bruce Riedel: The United States (US) terrorism expert Bruce Riedel while talking with Spiegel Online on November 12 said that coup in Pakistan is a real possibility. Daily Times, November 13, 2010.

The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

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