At least 40 houses belonging to Dimasa tribals have been burnt down in strife-torn North Cachar Hills district in southern Assam by unidentified militants, police said in Guwahati on Tuesday. No casualties have been reported.
"A group of gunmen wearing black clothes and helmets struck Diduki and Lailing villages under Maibang and Mahur police stations on Monday night and set huts on fire. About 160 tribals are now homeless," a police spokesman said.
It was learnt that security personnel had on Sunday taken away the licensed guns of villagers and the miscreants seem to have taken advantage of the situation.
Earlier on June 3, at least five tribals were killed and 10 injured by separatist militants of the Dima Halam Daogah-Jewel (DHD-J)faction, who also set ablaze the entire Boro Chamon village, under Haflong police station in the trouble-torn district.
The number of displaced Zeme tribal villagers, mostly women and children who have been taking shelter in Tousem areas in Manipur's Tamenglong district, have increased following renewed violence in Assam's North Cachar Hills district.
"People are still fleeing from Assam's Hills district and their numbers have crossed 800," said Jacinta Lazarus, deputy commissioner of Tamenglong.
Lazarus told newsmen in Manipur capital Imphal: "Since the outbreak of violence in the southern Assam in March, initially over 500 displaced tribal villagers have arrived and taken shelter at Tousem. However, the numbers of displaced people have increased due to fresh violence in NC Hills."
The Manipur chief secretary held a meeting with his Assam counterpart to take necessary steps and provide relief materials.
Security has been intensified in North Cachar Hills district after the DHD-J guerrillas (popularly know as Black Widow) unleashed a reign of terror in the hill region.
The Assam police, in a special operation last week, arrested Mihir Barman alias Jewel Garlosa, the most wanted "commander-in-chief" of Dimasa tribe militant group DHD-J, in Bangalore, raising hopes for restoration of peace in the insurgency-ravaged hill districts of Assam. However, several senior leaders of the outfit are still at large, along with over 200 cadres.
Train services in this hill district had resumed last week after nearly two months on the militancy-hit Lumding-Badarpur rail section, which connects southern Assam and three other northeastern states (Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur) to the rest of the country.
According to official estimates, more than 85 people, including railway officials, have been killed in attacks by the DHD-J militant outfit on trains on this route and nearby villages of North Cachar Hill district during the past few months.