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8 killed in Assam blasts
Published on 7 Apr. 2009 1:02 AM IST
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ulfa suspected; PM to go ahead with Guwahati visit tuesday Assam was rocked by a series of bomb explosions and grenade attacks Monday killing eight people and wounding 60, a day ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the state. Singh is going ahead with his trip to the North-Eastern state tomorrow and will address public meetings in Dispur and in Dibrugarh as scheduled marking his entry into the poll campaign trail, PMO sources said in New Delhi. A police spokesman said there were three explosions and two grenade attacks in different parts of the state, including one at a police station. A powerful explosion rocked Guwahati’s busy Maligaon area, while another explosion shook Dhekiajuli town in northern Sonitpur district, about 150 km from here. The third explosion took place in eastern Karbi Anglong district injuring two people. Seven people have died and 56 injured in the blast in Guwahati. Some of the injured were serious, said Assam Inspector General of Police G.P. Singh . Police blamed the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for the two blasts in Guwahati and Dhekiajuli. The Karbi Anglong blast was blamed on a tribal rebel group. The blasts also took place a day before the ULFA marks its 30th foundation day. In the evening, militants threw a grenade at a police station in Mancachar in western Dhubri district, about 300 km from Guwahati.“Militants lobbed a grenade at the police station injuring three policemen,” Dhubri district police chief Partha Mahanta said. One of the injured policemen succumbed to his injuries. Another grenade attack took place in a marketplace in Udalguri district of northern Assam, but there were no casualties. Those injured in the Guwahati explosion where shifted to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital with multiple injuries. “The bomb was planted on a parked motorcycle,” senior police official G.P. Singh said. Witnesses said the area was packed with people when the explosion occurred. “Among the injured were several school children who were returning home. A woman and a child were among those killed,” Debajit Das, a witness, said. There was a massive fire soon after the blast in Guwahati with at least a dozen motorbikes and several cars gutted. “Most of the victims were shoppers and vendors, besides some school children,” Singh said. Less than two hours after the Guwahati blast, another explosion rocked Dhekiajuli town in northern Sonitpur district. “Eight people were injured in the blast that took place in a market. The bomb was strapped to a parked bicycle,” a police official said. A third explosion rocked eastern Karbi Anglong district injuring two people. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to visit Assam Tuesday to address an election rally for the ruling Congress in Dibrugarh, 500 km east of Guwahati. “This is a barbaric act and we have asked the police to take firm action,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said. Meanwhile, the Centre asked the Assam government to tighten security across the state in view of the powerful explosion in Guwahati, which so far claimed seven lives. A detailed report regarding the blast, which took place on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Assam, has also been sought by the Centre. Other senior officials of the Home Ministry were also in constant touch with the state government and assured all necessary assistance to find out the culprits involved in the explosion. A bomb disposal and data collection team of the National Security Guard is also being sent by the Centre to Guwahati to assist the local authorities in the investigations. Preliminary investigations indicated the hands of ULFA in the blast as the banned outfit carried out such explosion in the past prior to its ‘Raising Day’, which falls tomorrow, sources said. The bomb, suspected to have been planted in a car or a motorcycle in a parking lot adjacent to the Northeast Frontier railway headquarters near Maligaon Chariali, went off around 2 p.m. killing five on the spot. PM condemns Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned Monday’s serial blasts in Assam and said that his government was committed to thwarting the designs of the terrorists. Manmohan Singh expressed profound grief and shock over the incidents and conveyed his condolences to the near and dear ones of those killed in the blasts. “The government remains committed in its resolve to thwart the designs of terrorists and adequate measures will be undertaken to ensure peace and stability in the state,” he was quoted in a press release here.

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