At least two persons were killed and about 10 injured when a powerful explosion occurred in a crowded evening market at the Maligaon Shuttle Gate locality in Guwahati on Friday. The blast,said to be from an improvised explosive device (IED),occurred at about 6:30 PM.
The bomb was planted on a bicycle and placed between two cars,killing two persons on the spot. The number of casualties was,however,less because of the barrier created by the two cars.
“It was an IED,and we suspect this to be the handiwork of the ULFA,” Pradip Chandra Saloi,SP,Guwahati City Police,told The Indian Express.
Assam Health Minister,who visited the blast site an hour afterwards,said the blast was caused by militants to gain publicity especially at a time when the state Assembly was in session. “We can’t rule out the involvement of the ULFA. They have definitely done this to gain publicity,” the minister said.
While one of the seriously injured was shifted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital and seven admitted to the Railway Hospital,three have been admitted to a private hospital at Maligaon. Some of the injured have been identified as Bijoy Bhuyan,Kalpana Bhuyan,Manoj Prasad,Ratan Sharma,Binod Sharma,Rajiv Sharma.
The blast occurred within 24 hours of Pranjal Deka,one of the two prime suspects of the January 1 Guwahati blasts,being killed in a joint operation by the police and the Army in a village near Rangiya in Kamrup district,about 50 kms from here.
The crowded market where the blast occurred on Friday evening is close to the headquarters of the Northeast Frontier Railway,and about two kms away from Bhootnath,one of the sites of the January 1 blasts.
The police have so far arrested 10 persons in connection with the January 1 blasts,which includes one Sanjib Talukdar who confessed to having planted the bomb at Bhootnath on that day.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi strongly condemned the bomb blast. “The blast engineered by extremist elements is a heinous act committed on innocent people. It is a cowardly act that needs to be highly condemned by one and all,” an official press release quoting him said. The government would leave no stone unturned to nab those behind the blast,Gogoi added.