The outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) on Friday claimed responsibility for the train blast in Assam that killed a five-year-old and threatened to blow up more passenger trains and attack buses as part of their stepped up offensive.
With the scars of the October 2008 serial blasts yet to heal, the NDFB said it was responsible for Thursday's explosion on the Garib Rath Express train in western Assam that killed a five-year-old and injured up to 15 people.
"Such type of incidents will become the order of the day, so the NDFB asks and appeals to all the inhabitants of South East Himalayan Region (northeast India) not to undertake journey by train or other government vehicles otherwise we will not responsible for the consequences," an NDFB statement said.
The rebel statement said the attack was to protest the shabby treatment meted out to its leader Ranjan Daimary, who is now in judicial custody.
"The safety and security to the people is only in words. Police and security forces got the information before and warned through the media about possibilities of blasts but failed to detect the location. NDFB claims responsibility for the serial blasts on railway tracks and the Garib Rath Express also fell in the trap in Kokrajhar district," the NDFB statement said.
The Assam government on Wednesday sounded a maximum security alert following radio intercepts about possible NDFB plans to trigger serial explosions on vital installations like railways, bridges, oil pipelines and government establishments, besides security forces.
"It is now evident that the NDFB that claimed it to be a revolutionary outfit has become a terrorist group as they openly announced attacking trains and innocent people by way of their statement," said Ranjit Das, a lawyer in Guwahati.
The NDFB was blamed for the Oct 30, 2008, serial explosions in Assam killing about 100 people and wounding up to 500 more.
"The Oct 30 serial explosions is still fresh in our minds and we are yet to come out of the trauma and we find the NDFB announcing it would attack civilians in trains and buses," said Ganesh Bora, a vegetable vendor who was critically injured in one of the nine blasts in 2008.
"We are scared now to travel by train in view of the NDFB threat," said Abhinav Das, a government employee who commutes daily by local trains in western Assam.
Arrested NDFB chairman Daimary is said to be the main mastermind behind the serial blasts in the chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
"The NDFB is not fighting for the Bodo people, in fact they are waging a war against innocent civilians and interested in only minting money and bloodshed," Assam Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta told IANS.
The NDFB claims to be fighting for an independent homeland for the Bodo tribe in Assam.