New Delhi, Aug 5 : Strongly condemning the militant attack in Assam, Kokrajhar where thirteen people have been killed, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday asserted that the attack was a 'mindless and dastardly' one, adding that the perpetrators of such acts shall be dealt with in the severest possible manner.
"Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi has strongly condemned the militant attack on a weekly market at Balajan Tinali in Assam and extended her condolences to the families of the thirteen innocent victims.
Describing the attack as mindless and dastardly, she stressed that the perpetrators of such acts that target innocent and unsuspecting common people shall be dealt with in the severest possible manner," the Congress said in a statement.
Hoping that immediate relief measures were being taken, Gandhi instructed the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee and the frontals to reach out to the injured and bereaved with all possible assistance.
Echoing similar sentiments, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi asserted that this development was extremely worrying, adding that his prayers were with the victims' kin.
"News of the terror attack in Kokrajhar, Assam extremely worrying. My thoughts (and) prayers are with the families of the victims," the Office of Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, NSA Ajit Doval has met Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and discussed the current state of affairs in Kokrajhar.
At least 13 civilians have been killed and more than 20 have sustained injuries after militant outfits belonging to National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) fired indiscriminately.
Speaking to ANI, Sonowal condemning the incident said that the state government has announced Rs. Five lakh to the deceased families and Rs. one lakh to the injured. He said that stern action would be taken against the militants. "Our government is committed to the protection of people of Assam and that is why we have immediately directed the Director General of Police and other senior police officials to rush to the spot," he said.
He stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have been apprised of the matter.
One of the attackers has reportedly been gunned down. Meanwhile, Assam Finance Minister Hemant Bishwar told ANI that Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Assam Police and Paramilitary forces are conducting a joint combing operation to neutralise remaining extremists.
He said that the Army has been kept at standby and will be called if necessary. As per reports, an AK-47 has been recovered from the terrorist who was killed after an intense gun battle that lasted about 20 minutes.
The gunbattle ensued when the armed extremists opened fired at a market around 12 kms from Kokhrajar. This sudden incident of firing on people at a public place in broad daylight is first of its kind in the militancy-ravaged state.