4 low-intensity IED blasts hit Assam, no casualties
At least four low-intensity explosions within a span of 15 minutes hit Assam on Sunday as India marked its 71st Republic Day, officials said, adding that there was no loss of life or damage to property.
Hours later, the banned United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), or Ulfa(I), claimed responsibility, saying it was the handiwork of its military wing. Ulfa’s anti-talk faction and other proscribed outfits had called a bandh on Republic Day, asking residents to stay indoors.
“All these are suspected low-intensity improvised explosive device (IED) blasts. There was no damage to property and no human injury or casualty. The first blast was reported at 8:10am and the last one around 8:25am,” GP Singh, additional director general of police (law and order) of the Assam Police, said.
He said initially there were reports of five incidents. “...but of those, at one spot there was no sign of any blast. So we have been able to confirm four blasts — two in Dibrugarh and one each on Duliajan and Sonari,” Singh said.
Condemning the blasts, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal tweeted: “...This cowardly attempt to create terror on a sacred day only exhibits the frustration of the terror groups after their total rejection by the people. Our Govt will take the sternest action to bring the culprits to book.”
The first blast was reported outside a shop at Teokghat in Sonari area of Charaideo district.
Three explosions were reported in Dibrugarh district — two at Graham Bazar and AT Road, and another at the oil town of Duliajan, additional superintendent of police (ASP) Padmanabh Barua told news agency PTI.
Militant outfits in Assam and rest of the northeast routinely call for a boycott on Republic Day and Independence Day, and carry out minor blasts.
Sunday’s blasts came days after 644 militants from eight rebel outfits laid down arms in front of Sonowal at a ceremony in Guwahati. They included 50 ULFA-I members.