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Schoolgirl killed in explosion

- Bomb blast in Dibrugarh

Jorhat/Dibrugarh, Dec. 17: A schoolgirl was killed and 17 others injured in a bomb blast near Amolapatty railway crossing along National Highway 37 in Dibrugarh town around 5.15pm today.

The victim has been identified as Purnima Rajak, 14, a resident of Amolapatty and a Class X student of Surajmal Jalan Balika Siksha Sadan in Dibrugarh town. She was to appear for her HSLC examination early next year.

The injured were rushed to the Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, where they are said to be out of danger. They have been identified as Bhairon Shah, Dalim Shah, Paramananda Yadav, Kishor Roy, Babu Das, Shahnawaj Hussain, Ankit Jalan, Sariful Hussain, Abdul Karim, Khursid Ali, Kamal Gupta, Bikki Rabidas, Hira Ballav Deka, Rashmi Roy, Altaf Hussain and Tutu Ahmed. One of the injured persons is yet to be identified.

Among the injured, 14 are from Dibrugarh while Sha-nawaj Hussain is from Bongaigaon and Bikki Rabidas from Sivasagar district.

Police said investigations were on to find out the nature of the blast and have not ruled out the hand of militant outfits like Ulfa (I) or Maoists. Top district police and civil officials have rushed to the spot.

Deputy superintendent of police Robin Gohain said, “We suspect Ulfa could be behind the attack. A probe is on and we will be able to crack the case very soon.”

The bomb is suspected to have been planted in a dustbin near an electric pole and the whole area was engulfed in smoke after the blast. There is a market nearby.

A senior police official said there was no power supply in the area at the time of the explosion and those who planted the bomb took advantage of the darkness.

Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Aruna Rajoria told The Telegraph that preliminary investigation indicates that the explosion was caused by a crude bomb.

She said samples have been collected from the blast site and are being sent to the state Forensic Science Laboratory in Guwahati to determine the nature of the explosives.

Rajoria said compensation of Rs 3 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the dead according to government rules.

DoNER minister and Dibrugarh MP Paban Singh Ghatowar and the AGP have condemned the incident. Ghatowar said he had not heard about such incidents in Dibrugarh and asked the government to tighten security.

Home secretary G.D. Tripathi told The Telegraph that one person was killed and 11 injured.

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