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Blast in Assam, night trains suspended
Published on 23 Jan. 2010 12:30 AM IST
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A grenade attack took place in Assam’s Chirang district Friday and the railways suspended night trains fearing rebel attacks even as a massive security alert was sounded in the restive northeast region ahead of Republic Day. A police spokesperson said a grenade exploded near a market in Goilang village in Chirang, about 180 km from Assam’s main city Guwahati. “Motorcycle-borne militants lobbed the grenade near a crowd of people, but it failed to hit the target with no casualties reported,” a police official said. Police blamed the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) for the failed attack. Meanwhile, the Indian Railways Friday announced suspension of night train services in Assam from 6 a.m. Jan 24 to midnight Jan 27. “The decision to suspend running of night trains was taken keeping in view security aspects and safety of passengers,” said T. Hajong, railways spokesperson. Five militant groups have called a general strike from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Republic Day, Jan 26. The five rebel groups that announced their boycott Wednesday through a statement e-mailed to journalists are the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF) - comprising several major militant outfits in the state - the Kamatapur Liberation Organization (KLO) and the Tripura People’s Democratic Front (TPDF). These groups are active in Assam, Manipur and Tripura. Militant groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events to protest New Delhi’s rule over the region and stage violent attacks in the run up to the celebrations to make their presence felt. Thousands of army, police and paramilitary troopers are standing guard in the northeastern states, particularly Manipur, where militants launched a grenade attack Tuesday near the residence of the state police chief. Three people were injured in the attack. Militant groups often target vital installations like road and rail bridges, oil installations, besides attacking security forces as part of their design.

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