Seven persons got burn injuries after explosions caused a major fire in the Indian Oil Corporation’s Guwahati Refinery on Tuesday. The banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) claimed responsibility for the blasts but refinery authorities attributed it to a technical snag.
“A technical snag resulted in the fire in a tanker. The blaze spread immediately to the tanker’s surroundings,” refinery general manager Biswa Priya Das said.
The Guwahati Refinery, with a production capacity of 1 million metric tonnes per annum, is India’s oldest public sector refinery and is celebrating its golden jubilee (50 years).
While fire tenders fought the flames, Ulfa took 22 minutes to claim responsibility for the blasts. “We bombed the refinery as part of our regular exercise against exploitation of Assam’s natural resources by colonial India,” said the outfit’s spokesperson Arunodoi Dohotia.
Targeting oil installations and pipelines has been a ritual for the Ulfa since the 1990s.
Senior police officials said it was too early to believe the Ulfa claim. “The fire has been completely doused. We will be able to say what caused the blasts and fire in the refinery after investigation,” inspector general of police (central-western range) GP Singh said.
Earlier in the day, seven persons were injured in a bomb blast in Manipur capital Imphal. The blast took place near the house of Trinamool Congress candidate K Joykishan, who is contesting the Thangmeiband assembly seat. Police are yet to establish the motive behind the blast and no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for it.