Serial blasts rock Assam, one killed
Insurgents triggered a string of explosions Thursday in Assam killing one person and wounding 11 people, besides blowing up a gas pipeline and a power transformer, officials said. A police spokesman said there were four blasts in eastern Assam's Sivasagar district, including one that blew up a natural gas pipeline.
"There is a big fire at the gas pipeline and fire fighters were trying to douse the flame. Supply of gas has been stopped from the main source and we expect the fire to be controlled soon," police chief of Sivasagar district Shyamal Saikia told IANS. The pipeline is owned by the state-run Assam Gas Company Ltd for transporting gas for domestic and industrial use in eastern Assam.
Rebels bombed a temple near Moranhat town in the same district, about 385 km from Assam's main city of Guwahati.
"Three people were injured in the blast. Probably the militants were planning to plant the bomb at the market but failed to do so due to heavy security presence and instead left the bicycle fitted with explosives inside the temple complex," the police official said.
Another blast in Amguri town in Sivasgar district damaged a power transformer.
Earlier Thursday morning, one person was killed and eight wounded in a powerful explosion at the vegetables market at Sonari town in the same district.
"Investigations revealed the person who died in the blast was the bomber himself. The bomb was hidden inside his jacket and went off before he could plant," Saikia said.
Police said they suspected the separatist United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) was behind the attack. The blast comes on the eve of ULFA's 'army day' on March 16 - the day the outfit's armed wing was formed after the group was founded in 1979. There were two bomb explosions earlier this week in eastern Assam killing one person and injuring 24 people, besides a ruling Congress party leader shot dead near Guwahati.
The ULFA, which has been fighting for an independent homeland since 1979, was blamed for a string of attacks in January that killed about 80 people, 61 of them Hindi-speaking migrant workers in eastern Assam.
The outfit in recent weeks offered to hold talks with New Delhi although there is no response yet from the central government.
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Assam during the past two decades.