ULFA-I claims responsibility for grenade blast, Assam police nabs culprits
Based on a tip, the Assam police launched a search operation in the Panjabari area of Guwahati following the grenade explosion that took place outside the Guwahati Central mall located in Zoo Road area of the city on Wednesday evening.
The crime branch team led by Commissioner of Police, Deepak Kumar arrested two activists of the United Liberation Front of Asom, Independent’s (ULFA-I) 'anti-talk' faction for involvement in the blast that left 11 people injured.
Guwahati City Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar identified the arrested as senior cadre Pranmoy Asom and his accomplice Jahnabi Saikia.
"We had received inputs regarding the movement of senior ULFA cadres from Bagharbari area of the city immediately after the blast. We activated our intelligence to track them and arrested both Pranmoy Asom and Jahnabi Saikia from a house located in Namghar Path, Panjabari," he said.
He further informed that Pranmoy Rajguru alias Pranmoy Asom had joined the ULFA in 1986, while Saikia was a "sleeper agent" in Guwahati who he used to visit frequently. A 9 mm pistol, 25 rounds of ammunition, bomb-making materials, gelatine sticks and 20 kgs gunpowder was seized from their possession. Additionally, police also recovered ULFA pads and letters from the residence.
ULFA-I Commander-in-chief, Paresh Baruah, had taken the responsibility of the blast and claimed that it was an attack on CRPF patrolling party. Eye witnesses informed that the bomb was lobbed from a motorbike towards the temporary security manned in front of the shopping mall.
The blast occurred at around 8 PM, a day after police and Army achieved a major success by apprehending three ULFA cadres, who had fled from Myanmar along with sophisticated arms and ammunition in Tarani Reserve Forest of Tinsukia district. On Monday, another ULFA cadre who had fled from Myanmar was apprehended in Sivasagar district.
Following the blast, high alert has been declared in Guwahati and all entry and exit routes have been put under surveillance. City police have cordoned off the area and started their investigations. A team of forensic experts too have visited the blast site and collected a few samples to conduct forensic examination.
DCP Crime, Jayant Singh, speaking to G Plus said, "Prima facie investigation, evidence show that it was a grenade blast but the forensic department is still investigating the spot to be sure."
11 injured, 2 critical: Govt to provide Rs 50,000, free treatment to all
As a consequence of the explosion, 11 people, two of them critically, were injured. Among those injured were two Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel who have been identified as ASI Ramesh Lal (45) and constable Amulya Lalan (30).
The other injured persons are father-daughter duo Amit Kanshal (40) and Riya Kanshal (15), father-son duo Sultan Jahidul Rahman and Fardeen Hussain Rahman, Bijoy Kumar Shah (22), Kalyan Baishya (28), Lala Kumar Yadav (16), and Edward Hmar (18).
Amit and Riya Kanshal are currently undergoing treatment at Nemcare Super Specialty Hospital. While Riya sustained minor injuries and some burns, Amit sustained intestinal injuries along with eye damage for which he will need to be treated for at least three to four days.
Both the SSB personnel, along with Sultan, Fardeen and Bijoy had been admitted to the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH). Four of them had sustained minor injuries and thus were discharged after treatment the next day itself. However, Fardeen is still in the ICU where he is undergoing treatment.
Ramen Talukdar, Superintendent of GMCH, informed G Plus, "Fardeen Rahman had sustained severe intestinal injuries and he has already undergone a stomach surgery. Additionally, the left side of his body was highly affected. He has a fracture in the forearm, his left eye is almost completely damaged and his left ear was also injured."
The remaining four injured during the blast were admitted at the Kuntal Goswami Memorial Trust (KGMT) hospital, and were released after due treatment.
Meanwhile, the state government has announced free treatment to those injured in the blast. Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro), Biswajit Pegu, has announced that the state government will provide Rs 50,000 each to those injured in the blast.
Visiting the injured at the GMCH, state minister Pijush Hazarika said, “I condemn the ones behind the attack.
Innocent civilians shouldn’t be targeted. This incident shows that Assam is going backward. This is no way to show power; after all killings do not solve any problems. Free medical treatment with all modern medical facilities will be provided to the injured.”