| Residents, security personnel and rescue workers at the blast site at Bhatkuchi on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, July 11: A lesser-known militant outfit, Adivasi People’s Army, today claimed responsibility for the explosion on the railway tracks near Rangiya in Kamrup district, leading to derailment of eight coaches of the Guwahati-Puri Express that left more than 90 passengers injured.
A caller identifying himself as R.U. Soren, “area commander” of the outfit, told The Telegraph this evening that the outfit had carried out the blast. He did not give any reason for the act of subversion.
Immediate attempts to contact him again failed as the cell phone was “switched off”. Some other mediapersons also received similar calls.
The call, however, came when the police were also pointing the needle of suspicion at the group while at the same time not entirely ruling out the possibility of involvement of some other outfit.
A senior police officer said they had some clues that suggest the involvement of the outfit in the explosion on the railway tracks.
“The outfit has emerged as prime suspect in the preliminary assessment of intelligence and investigating agencies probing the blast. However, the possibility of involvement of any other militant group, including the Ranjan Daimary faction of the NDFB, cannot be ruled out since the investigation is still on,” he said.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said preliminary investigation does not suggest the involvement of the Daimary faction of the NDFB. “As of now we cannot say they are involved. We need to have something (concrete). Preliminary reports do not suggest their (Daimary faction) involvement,” Gogoi said.
Forest minister Rockybul Hussain, in a statement made on behalf of Gogoi who also holds the home portfolio, did not name any group. He said in the Assembly that suspected militants carried out the IED blast and that a 6 to 7-metre electric wire was recovered from the site.
Altogether 93 persons were injured and there was no delay on the part of the administration and railway staff, he said.
The blast, which took place between Rangiya and Ghagrapar railway stations at 8.20pm, derailed the engine and eight coaches.
The Railways today announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured passengers and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries.
Commissioner of railway safety, Northeast Frontier Railway circle, Calcutta, Balbir Singh, will hold a statutory inquiry at divisional railway manager’s Rangiya office on July 13 and 14.
The Paresh Barua-faction of Ulfa, in an email to the media today, condemned the blast and wished the injured speedy recovery.
According to another police source, the Adivasi People’s Army has been targeting trains for some time to put pressure on the government for the creation of an Adivasi Autonomous Council.
He said before yesterday’s incident, the Adivasi outfit, whose style of functioning resembles that of the Maoists, had made two unsuccessful attempts to target passenger trains.
“The Adivasi People’s Army had claimed responsibility for the blast that took place on a railway track at Alokjhar, between Gossaigaon and Srirampur railway stations, in Kokrajhar district on May 6. The bomb went off 10 minutes after the 15930 Dn Chennai Express passed that way,” the source said.
The outfit had also planted a powerful bomb on the Sealdah-Guwahati Kanchenjunga Express on June 17 but the attempt was foiled .