Six people were killed and more than 80 injured in a powerful blast at a weekly market in Kumarikata in Baska district of Assam on Sunday. Security forces, however, managed to recover a second bomb from the market.
The explosion occurred at 1.15 p.m. when the market was crowded. Baska police said the bomb had been planted on a bicycle that was parked nearby. The area was cordoned off after the blast and top police and army officials rushed to the spot.
Sunday’s blast was the second in three days. On Friday, 10 people were injured in a blast at Haiborgaon in Nagaon town.
The market is situated close to the India-Bhutan border and has a mixed population of Bodo and Rava tribals and Adivasis. Most of the injured were Bodo and Rabha tribals and Adivasis. Ten women and two children were among the critically injured.
Assam Police IG (special branch) Khagen Sarma suspects the blast to be the handiwork of Ulfa’s 709 battalion, which is active in Baska and Chirabg districts. The Kumarikata area is under the Bodoland Territorial Council.
He explained that after two companies of Ulfa’s 28th battalion announced a “ceasefire” and expressed a desire for holding talks within the ambit of the Constitution of India, those opposing them instigated cadres to carry out the blast.
“The Kumarikata blast will prove counter- productive for the Ulfa. Cadres used to take shelter in these areas. The blast was an attempt to discourage those who want to join the mainstream,” said Sarma. He added that a section of the Ulfa’s battalion 709 are in touch with the government and want to quit the outfit.