At least five people were killed and four injured on Thursday in a blast on the super-fast Rajdhani Express bound for Delhi from this Assam city. A shadowy adivasi insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the terror attack.
"Our cadres triggered the blast using a remote system and we shall continue with such attacks in the coming days," Dilip Beg, a top leader of the rag-tag Adivasi National Liberation Army (ANLA), told IANS by telephone from an undisclosed location.
A railway official said the blast took place around 1.05 a.m. at the Rajdhani Express near Chungajan in Golaghat district, about 270 km east of Assam's main city of Guwahati.
"Five people were killed and four others injured with the impact of the explosion hitting a portion of the luggage van of the train," T. Rabha, chief spokesperson of the Northeast Frontier Railways, told IANS.
The ANLA leader said his group would not remain quiet until the government conferred Scheduled Tribe status to the adivasis in Assam that would bring in more rights and privileges for the community in the state.
"We have been forced to take up arms by the government and we shall not rest until our community gets special recognition like a scheduled tribe status," Beg said.
The train was not derailed and all other passengers were safe. The train originating from Dibrugarh in eastern Assam has since arrived in Guwahati, on way to New Delhi.
The blast, that rattled sleeping passengers, created panic.
"I presume the bomb was planted in the toilet of the parcel van. People started screaming and crying when the explosion took place," said Rajinder Singh, an army trooper, travelling in the train.
Bimla Singh, another passenger, is still dazed. "I was two coaches behind and am really scared."
There was partial damage to the tracks with just two sleepers affected. The damaged track was quickly repaired.
The injured were shifted to a hospital in Dimapur, the commercial hub of the adjoining Nagaland state.
Police suspects the bomb could have been planted inside the non air-conditioned section having a capacity to carry some 40 passengers along with cargo.
"Preliminary investigations and a look at the extent of damage caused to the tracks indicate the bomb could have been placed in the luggage van itself although a final report is awaited," Golaghat district police chief P.C. Haloi told IANS.
All the dead passengers were Hindi-speaking migrant workers from Bihar, the police official said.
The ANLA is a little-known rebel group active in Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts of eastern Assam and fighting for special rights for the adivasis, one of the 120 tea-plantation workers' communities.
On December 4, a powerful explosion hit the engine of a passenger train in the same area, although it failed to impact the coaches. The Kamrup Express was bound for Tinsukia in eastern Assam from Guwahati when the blast took place.