Guwahati, Sept. 8: A CRPF jawan was killed and 12 persons were injured, one of them critically, in a grenade explosion near Paltan Bazar police station here at 7.45 this evening.
The blast took place on the road to Guwahati railway station and barely two metres from the compound wall of Paltan Bazar police station and the ASTC bus stand. A police booth is situated close to the spot.
IGP (law and order) L.R. Bisnoi, who rushed to the spot, told The Telegraph around 9.45pm, “One CRPF jawan died while three CRPF jawans and nine civilians were injured in the blast. We are not in a position to pinpoint any particular group but investigations are on to identify the attackers.”
He said the deceased, identified as Bhabani Singh of the CRPF’s 67 Battalion, and the three injured jawans were coming from Shillong and were on their way to Guwahati railway station. Singh, 35, who hailed from Rajasthan, was brought dead at the hospital.
After the explosion, policemen were seen collecting splinters from a body carrying van (AS-30 4976) of Panbazar police division that was parked close to the spot.
Ramen Talukdar, superintendent of GMCH, said one person had been brought dead while all the 12 injured had been hospitalised. The critically injured person had undergone surgery.
Sara Kiri, 20, a resident of Karbi Anglong and an employee at Yadav Dairy, a restaurant situated barely five metres away, was washing utensils when he heard a shattering sound.
“The sound was so loud that it shook our building and utensils started falling. I rushed out of the shop and saw three CRPF men lying in a pool of blood. It was scary and people started running helter skelter,” Kiri said.
His colleague Suresh Choudhury said, “Initially, I thought it was a cracker but the sound was so loud that I thought it must be a bomb blast. We saw people lying injured. Security personnel are always posted here, as this is the entry point to the railway station.”
Forensic personnel, who reached the spot to collect evidence, said it was a Chinese hand grenade and had been lobbed from a very close range.
“The nature of injury of the people suggests that the grenade was lobbed from zero distance. We found the pin and lever of the grenade very close to the crater created by the explosion. A pin is removed from the grenade before it is lobbed. Since we found the pin close to the spot, it suggests that the attack was carried out from a very close range,” Nirmal Talukdar, scientific officer (explosives) of the state Forensic Science Laboratory said.
The attack has baffled the police top brass as the attackers managed to flee after lobbing the grenade in a high security zone of the city.
Asked if police had any information, Bishnoi said, “There was a general input that militants might try to attack security personnel but there was no specific one. The data was about Ulfa in Upper Assam and some other groups in lower Assam”.