The Assam government on Monday beefed up security after two powerful overnight explosions rocked Guwahati's main business centre, killing 12 people and wounding 40, triggering fear and panic all around.
The government is holding a meeting of the Unified Command Structure to review the security situation following the explosions, believed to be the handiwork of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) rebels.
"The twin blasts have triggered panic and people are now scared to even move out of their homes," Ram Bharatiya, a textile merchant in Assam's main city of Guwahati, said.
Two powerful explosions rocked Guwahati one after the other Monday night - one at the crowded Fancy Bazaar area and another at Pathar Kuwari on the outskirts of the city.
Eight people were killed and 35 wounded in the blast at Fancy Bazaar, while four died and another five injured in the other blast.
At least 15 of the 40 injured are battling for their lives at a hospital, doctors said.
Police blamed the outlawed ULFA for the twin explosions. The ULFA is yet to own up the attacks.
"The bomb at Fancy Bazaar was kept on a bicycle and this is one of the latest modus operandi of the ULFA to keep explosives to target innocent civilians," Assam police intelligence chief Khagen Sharma said.
Most of the casualties at Fancy Bazaar are Hindi speaking people belonging to the business community. "The attack in the heart of Assam' main business centre at Fancy Bazaar is definitely going to impact on the markets with fear and panic all around," Suresh Raju, another businessman, said.
"This is nothing but an act of desperation with the ULFA killing innocent civilians. We are stepping up security and take all possible steps to thwart possible rebel attacks," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.
Meanwhile, a dawn-to-dusk general strike on Monday to protest the separatist bombings hit normal life in Guwahati.
"Markets in the city remained closed and the city streets wore a deserted look," a senior police official said.
The 12-hour Guwahati city strike that began at 6 am was jointly called by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, the Kamrup District Chambers of Commerce, and the Purvottar Hindustani Sammelan, a socio-cultural group of Hindi speaking people in Assam.