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Homeowner injured in explosion

- Cops suspect ‘crude bomb’ went off when Ali was making it

Sivasagar, Jan 28: The owner of a two-storey building in the heart of Sivasagar town was injured when a crude bomb exploded this morning.

The blast, which took place in Raju Ali’s house, ripped the flesh off his hands.

People thronged the area after the news of the blast spread. When police claimed to have recovered five crude bombs, tension spread among those present in the area. Splinters from the grenade fell on a building around 20 feet from Ali’s home. The police suspect the “crude bomb” went off while Ali was making it. In another room, explosive powder and other materials used to make the crude bomb were lying on a mat. The suspicion comes in view of the criminal background of Ali and recovery of explosives and a crude bomb from his residence.

According to the police, Ali was arrested earlier in connection with extorting money in the name of Ulfa. Ali has been shifted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) in Dibrugarh after he was provided preliminary treatment in Sivasagar.

Fifty metres from the busy Station Sariali where the incident took place, 60-year-old paan shopowner Durlav Hazarika heard a sound that he first thought to be a tyre burst.

“I mistook it for the sound of a tyre burst. How would I know that it was a crude bomb as I had not heard one before it?” Hazarika asked.

A number of criminal cases have been registered against the victim at Sivasagar police station. Ali was arrested several times in the past, and the recent one was for his involvement in extorting money in the name of Ulfa, the source said. Sivasagar additional superintendent of police Debasish Sharma said 400 grams explosives and a handmade crude bomb were found at Ali’s house.

Ali, however, told reporters that an Ulfa cadre, Rupantar Kakoty, threw a bag at him from the road.

“As I caught hold of it, I heard a sound and fell on the ground. As I gained consciousness, I found both my hands soaked in blood,” he said.

Goalpara police recovered a huge amount of arms and ammunitions used by Ulfa from the Assam-Meghalaya border in the district on Monday night.

The police said a group of Ulfa militants entered Hatigaon, a village under Agia police station around 45km from Goalpara, with huge arms and explosive materials, including 300 bullets and eight detonators. The group of militants kept the arms inside a rubber plantation. “We got the information that a group had under the leadership of Drishti Rajkhowa brought the ammunition from Bangladesh.” said Goalpara superintendent of police Nitul Gogoi.