M A I N   N E W S

Twin blasts rock Assam
7 dead, over 60 hurt; ULFA hand suspected; IEDs planted on two bicycles 
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

n First blast around 9.45 am in front of the police station in Nalbari town
n Within a few minutes, another blast in front of a nearby mobile phone shop in the town

Guwahati, November 22
At least seven persons were killed and over 60 injured in twin blasts that rocked Nalbari town of Lower Assam’s Nalbari district at around 10 am today. The blasts occurred five days ahead of the ‘protest day’ of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) raising suspicion about the involvement of the outfit.

The first blast occurred in front of the police station in Nalbari town at around 9.45 am followed by another blast within few minutes in front of a nearby mobile phone shop in the town. The second blast killed and injured most as people gathered in the area following the first explosion.

Nalbari DSP Jitmol Doley said two bicycles were converted to improvised explosive devices by stuffing explosives. The improvised explosive devices were planted about 50 metres apart.

A senior police official, on condition of anonymity, said the blasts were handiwork of the proscribed ULFA. ADGP Khagen Sharma said the ULFA had track record of using bicycle bombs and police recovered many such bombs in the past.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the blasts were definitely carried out by the banned ULFA as the outfit had been trying to strike terror of late. He informed that Assam police recovered many bombs planted by the ULFA in different parts of the state during the last six months.

Gogoi said ULFA was under pressure in Bangladesh under the new regime there and had shifted its base to Myanmar and now trying to set up base in China also. He said the ULFA was morally down now after the recent arrest of two of its top leaders — Sashadhar Choudhury and Chitrabon Hazarika — in Dhaka and was on the look out to strike terror.

Meanwhile, a caller, indentifying himself as Hira Sarania, self-styled commander of ULFA, told local TV channels here that the ULFA was not behind the twin blasts in Nalbari today and termed it a sabotage by a third party that wanted to derail the latest overture of the People’s Committee for Peace Initiative in Assam (PCPIA) to facilitate talks with the government of India.

A delegation of the PCPIA has left for New Delhi to talk with Central government leaders for preparing ground for holding of talks with the ULFA in the wake of arrest of two of the top leaders of the outfit in Dhaka. Assam police claimed that nine ULFA militants were planning to strike terror in the state at the instruction of the top brass of the outfit. Police also disclosed the names of those nine ULFA militants as Bosa Singh, Pinku Phukon, Upen Borgohain, Bimal Kalita, Swadhin Ray, Rajani Kanta Singha,Pulak Bharali, Hitesh Ray and Akon Moran.



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