Four persons including a minor girl were injured after two low-intensity blasts in a primarily Hindi-speaking area of Guwahati around 3pm on Saturday.
The blast occurred two hours after an alleged top jihad trainer and recruiter named Mohammad Monirul Islam alias Bura Bhai was arrested in south-western Assam’s Goalpara district.
The Guwahati police had initially attributed the twin blasts to crackers but splinters removed from the bodies of two of the injured indicated they could be crude bombs placed in a garbage container.
The United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) led by the fugitive Paresh Barua is suspected to be behind the blasts.
“We have detained two persons in connection with the blasts,” police commissioner Mukesh Agarwal said.
Fancy Bazar is the commercial hub of Guwahati as well as the rest of the northeast. The business there is controlled by Hindi-speaking traders. The ULFA-I had on December 1 opened fire at Hindi-speaking workers in a stone-crushing unit in eastern Assam’s Namrup. Two persons were injured in the firing.
The ULFA, which seeks secession from India, considers Hindi speakers as representatives of ‘occupational’ New Delhi. They have since 2000 killed more than 200 Hindi speakers to drive home their point.
Earlier in the day, police arrested four suspected Islamist radicals from Goalpara district’s Krishnai area. One of them was Bura Bhai, 48, who ran an arms racket and training centre for Jamaatul Mujahideed Bangladesh (JMB) disguised as a martial arts institute.
The police had in September raided this institute at Dawkhanagar in western Assam’s Chirang district. But Bura Bhai gave them the slip.
“In the course of our follow-up action, we arrested three persons from Chirang district on Friday. They led us to Bura Bhai,” a senior police officer engaged in counter-terror operations said.
Assorted weapons including an AK-47 were recovered from the arrested persons.
Chirang, one of four districts in the Bodo tribal council, has been a communally sensitive district since 2012.