Five persons were shot dead by suspected ULFA (independent) militants in Bishnoimukh village near Dhola-Sadiya bridge in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Thursday night, police said.

Three members of a family were among five persons shot dead while two others were injured in the brutal attack.

A group of assailants with sophisticated weapons came to this village near Dhola-Sadiya bridge and called out five-six persons from their house around 8 pm, they said.

They then opened indiscriminate fire upon those people before fleeing under the cover of darkness, a police officer said.

Police suspect the gunmen belonged to the ULFA (Independent) faction as they were in battle fatigue.

However, ULFA has denied a role in the attack. According to reports, the attack was carried by Paresh Baruah faction of the terrorist group.

The Army has launched a massive counter-insurgency operation along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. The Assam Rifles is keeping a vigil on the porous Indo-Myanmar border.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal condemned “the killing of innocent people” and conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families.

“Strong action will be taken against the perpetrators of this dastardly violence. We will not tolerate such cowardly act,” he told PTI.

Sonowal said he has directed state ministers Keshav Mahanta and Tapan Gogoi along with DGP Kuladhar Saikia to rush to the spot.

“We will not spare the culprits of the killings and will be brought to book,” he said.

The chief minister appealed to the people of Assam to maintain peace and harmony. He also directed all deputy commissioners and SPs to remain alert.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed deep anguish over the killings saying strongest possible action will be taken against the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Singh also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and took stock of the situation.

“Deeply anguished by civilian casualties in an attack in Upper Assam region. It is a reprehensible act of mindless violence. Spoke to Assam CM Shri @sarbanandsonwal regarding the incident and asked him to take strict possible action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” he said.

Assam Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma too expressed shock over the “brutal killing” of five people by suspected ULFA (Independent) gunmen.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee strongly condemned the attack. The CM named the five men and wondered if the brutal attack was an “outcome of recent NRC development”.

“We strongly condemn the attack in Tinsukia and killing of Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subodh Das. Is this the outcome of recent NRC development? We have no words to express our deep sorrow to grieving families. Perpetrators must be punished at earliest,” she said.

The fifth victim in Tinsukia is Dhananjay Namashudra, she added in another tweet.

The Supreme Court on Thursday extended the deadline for filing of claims and objections for the inclusion of names in Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) to December 15.

Assam police chief Kuladhar Saikia and top officers were rushed to the spot about 500 km from state capital Guwahati.

Meanwhile, All Assam Bengali Youth Students Federation has called for a 12-hour shutdown in Tinsukia in protest against the murder of five people killed by ULFA terrorists.

Trinamool Congress has said that it will hold protest rallies in Kolkata, Siliguri, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Nadia and other places.

(With agency inputs)