M A I N   N E W S

Terror strikes in North-East
35 dead, 100 injured as blasts rock Dimapur

Dimapur, October 2
Two simultaneous bomb blasts in Dimapur Railway station and Hongkong Market in Nagaland left at least 35 persons dead and 100 injured on the birthday of the apostle of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, today.

Official sources said the explosion, triggered by suspected underground militants around 9.30 am, blew up the ticket counter of the railway station and a portion of the platform.

In Hongkong Market, a portion of the building was turned into debris.

Over 100 persons had been hospitalised so far. Some of the injured were released after first aid.

The sources said 14 bodies had been recovered so far from Dimapur railway station and seven from the Hongkong Market building. Police and security forces were clearing the debris to rescue the injured and retrieve bodies.

The platform was crowded with people, including school children, waiting to board the train to Bokajan in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, when the bomb planted near the entrance detonated.

The explosion completely damaged the station master’s office, reservation and enquiry counters and blew up the shed of the platform.

“There were limbs everywhere and the platform was splattered with blood all over,” one of the injured said adding people ran helter skelter crying in terror.

More or less simultaneously, the second blast occurred at the busy Hong Kong Market area of the town, killing 10 persons on the spot and injuring 40, the police said.

Four critically wounded persons died at the district civil hospital. All the injured were rushed to the district civil hospital, private nursing homes and army hospitals in and around the town.

In Delhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the situation and would be visiting Dimapur tomorrow.

The police were yet to ascertain whether any militant group of the Northeast was behind the twin blasts for which no one has so far claimed responsibility.

With the condition of some injured remaining serious, Superintendent of Police, Janardhan Singh did not rule out the possibility of the death toll going up.

He said there was no body trapped in the debris at the station or in the market.

Chief Minister Neiphui Rio, who immediately rushed to the commercial town of Nagaland, announced an exgratia of Rs 1 lakh to the families of each of the dead, Rs 50,000 for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 to the other injured.

Rio said the government had also instituted a three-member probe team headed by Nagaland Commissioner T.N. Mannen and asked it to submit a report within 10 days.

The Chief Minister described the blasts as “most inhuman and uncivilised act”.

In 1996, over 50 persons were killed in an explosion in Eiphu on the Nagaland-Assam border.

The Chief Minister described the blasts as the “worst terrorist attacks” in Nagaland.

“The idea is to sabotage and derail the peace process going on in Nagaland.” The scene at local hospitals and the railway station was one of total chaos.

“I saw human limbs strewn all over the place in the railway station and blood splattered in the platform,” T. Zheviho, a tribal student leader in Dimapur, said.

The two NSCN groups, one led by S.S. Khaplang and the other headed by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, have condemned the blasts.

“We condemn the blasts and strongly believe it to be the handiwork of anti-Naga forces trying to derail the peace process,” Kraibo Chawang, spokesman of the NSCN (IM) group said.

“We are close to establishing the group behind the blasts and shall make our stand known shortly.” The NSCN (Khaplang) group, however, blamed the rival Isak-Muivah faction of masterminding the blasts.

“Our information says cadres of the Isak-Muivah group have triggered the blasts,” NSCN (K) leader Seocham Sangtam said.

Doctors at the hospital say they were finding it difficult to cope with the situation.

“Many of the injured have come with multiple wounds in their faces and abdomen,” T. Lotha, a doctor in Dimapur, said.

“Some of them are in a state of shock and absolute trauma. We are trying our best to cope with the situation although we have never come across this kind of an emergency situation of such a magnitude.” More than 25,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Nagaland since India’s independence in 1947. — UNI, PTI, IANS



Ultras gun down 19 in Assam

Dhubri, October 2
The banned National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militants struck terror in lower Assam killing 19 persons and injuring 23 in separate incidents today, while one of its cadres was shot dead by security forces.

A group of five heavily armed NDFB guerillas stormed the Makrijhora weekly market on National Highway 31 in Dhubri district at around 5.30 pm and opened fire killing 11 persons on the spot and seriously injured four others.

Dhubri Superintendent of Police L.R. Bishnoi said the ultras stormed the busy weekly market and opened fire from automatic weapons killing 11 persons.

In a simultaneous attack, a separate group of NDFB militants fired on a truck travelling from Guwahati to Bihar and injured three persons, official sources said.

In another incident in Chirang district, ultras exploded a bomb at Santipur bazar under Runikhata border outpost, killing two persons, the sources said.

Last night the security forces shot dead one NDFB ultra in Kokrajhar district, they added.

In another incident at the oil township of Bongaigaon, militants hurled grenades killing three and injuring 10 others. Militants hurled grenades killing two motorcyclists and injuring two at Abhayapuri.

One person was killed and another injured when ultras attacked the Jagi road police station in Morigaon district with grenades, police said.

Militants fired at a train injuring 10 people at Diphu in Karbi Anglong district. — PTI


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