Assam serial blasts: 56 killed; ULFA denies hand
Guwahati (PTI): Terror struck the hub of North-East when over a dozen blasts on Thursday ripped through commercial areas of the capital and three other districts, killing 56 people and injuring 350 others.
The first of the 13 bombs, suspected to have been planted by Bangladesh-based HuJI members, went off simultaneously at around 11.30 AM under the Ganeshguri flyover, near the high-security capital complex housing the Assembly building, Paltan Bazar and Fancy Bazar here.
Around the same time, bombs also went off in crowded market places of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts in lower Assam.
Black smoke billowed from the Deputy Commissioner's Office housing the district courts, which bore the brunt of the attacks in Guwahati, as vehicles, including a number of cars, turned into mangled heaps of metal.
Police suspected that the bomb was planted in the court complex on a two-wheeler.
At least 25 people were killed and 235 injured in the blasts in Guwahati where an indefinite curfew was clamped following protests by residents, who accused the police of delayed action.
While 19 were killed and 64 injured in Kokrajhar, 12 died in Barpeta where 46 others were wounded. Five people were injured in Bongaigaon, Principal Secretary (Home) Subhash Das told PTI.
A red alert has been sounded across the state and army has also been put on alert in view of the security situation, he said after Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held a review meeting with his cabinet colleagues and top officials.
Police suspect the involvement of Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI) in the attacks, the worst in the insurgency-prone state, though the hand of other extremist groups is not ruled out.
The banned ULFA, often blamed for such attacks, has denied any role in today's blasts, which have come on top of serial explosions in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi.
While six blasts rocked Guwahati, three explosions each took place in Kokrajhar and Barpeta and one in Bongaigaon.
Angry mobs in Guwahati went on a rampage, attacking and torching police vehicles, fire tenders and buses and pelted stones on police barricades at the blast sites.
A group of people shouting slogans against the government carried a body in a handcart to the gate of the Secretariat complex here.
A rattled Chief Minister vowed to deal firmly with the situation. It is the handiwork of anti-national extremist forces, Gogoi said in a statement.
The injured were admitted here to the Gauhati Medical College hospital where blast victims from other districts were also arriving for treatment.
Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner Prateek Hajela said he suspected the hand of HuJI in the serial blasts.
In Guwahati, two bombs exploded in Ganeshguri-Dispur near the capital complex, another in the compound of Kamrup district deputy commissioner's office, the third at Paltan Bazar and fourth in Fancy Bazar, Das said.
An oil tanker there caught fire following the explosion in Ganeshguri.
People were running helter-skelter and many were lying on the ground as total chaos prevailed at the blast site a short distance from the Secretariat at Dispur.
The blast sites wore a gory look with mutilated and charred bodies and human flesh strewn all over the blood-splattered roads. Parked vehicles bore a mute testimony to the carnage, with many reduced to smouldering metal and several others with splinter marks.
ULFA denies involvement
The banned ULFA on Thursday denied its involvement in the serial blasts that rocked Assam.
"The ULFA is in no way involved in the blasts in Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Barpeta and Kokrajhar and we condemn the incidents," an e-mail statement signed by Aanjan Borthakur of the group's central publicity unit said.
The group also offered its deep condolences to the family members of those killed in the blasts and wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.
The ULFA urged the authorities to ensure proper treatment of the injured.
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