The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blast shatters Arunachal calm

Itanagar, Oct.1: Often described as the “most peaceful” state in the Northeast, Arunachal Pradesh’s reverie was broken last night by an explosion in the capital town.

Seven people were injured in the blast, which rocked the capital’s twin town of Naharlagun around 8.30 pm.

Official sources said two suspected militants were trying to abduct a trader from a shop close to Naharlagun police station when a police team reached the spot. On being asked to surrender, one of the assailants hurled a bomb, injuring the police personnel and three bystanders. The assailant himself sustained injuries in the blast.

Chief minister Gegong Apang visited the injured police personnel — sub-inspector R.P. Singh and constables L.B. Singh and Khoda Tarang — and the civilians at the General Hospital here on being informed about the incident.

Two crude bombs, a pistol and five rounds of ammunition, were seized from the injured assailant, who is suspected to be a member of the recently-formed National Liberation Front of Arunachal. The police have launched a manhunt for his accomplice.

Arunachal Pradesh has been by and large peaceful despite the presence of militants of the Isak-Muivah and Khaplang factions of the NSCN in Tirap and Changlang districts.

The Congress, ousted from office in a political coup just two months ago, wasted no time in criticising the United Democratic Front government for failing to maintain law and order. The party demanded the resignation of home minister L. Wanglat.

Congress spokesperson Habung Payeng said in a statement here that the home minister should resign on moral grounds. He accused the Apang government of not taking complaints about extortion seriously.

Payeng said the new government had made it easier for militant groups to continue their activities by repealing the Arunachal Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act, which was the brainchild of former chief minister Mukut Mithi.

The Congress suspects Apang of taking the NSCN (I-M)’s help to return to power.

The police have yet to ascertain if the National Liberation Front of Arunachal has links with either of the NSCN groups. But an intelligence source said preliminary investigation had revealed that the fledgling outfit was an offshoot of the NSCN (I-M)

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