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Shop owner dies in blast

Goalpara, July 23: A 50-year-old man died, while four others, including a 13-year-old boy, were injured after an IED exploded in front of Krishnai police station in Goalpara district this morning.

The bomb, placed on a bicycle near a tea stall, exploded around 8am, leaving five persons seriously injured. They were shifted to Goalpara civil hospital, where one of the injured succumbed to his injuries. The victim has been identified as Mazibor Rahman, 50, the tea stall owner.

Rahman was sitting in the paan shop on the veranda of his tea stall when the bomb went off.

The blast spot is nearly 35km from here and around 115km from Guwahati.

Goalpara SP Nitul Gogoi suspected the involvement of the Paresh Barua group of Ulfa in the explosion. “A group of the outfit, led by its commander Drishti Rajkhowa, seems to be involved in the incident,” Gogoi told The Telegraph.

The four injured persons — Kasimuddin, Akhter Hussain, Jahirul Hussain, 13, and Fazlul Ali — were initially admitted to the civil hospital but later referred to Guwahati for better treatment.

Krishnai police have registered a case and picked up four persons for interrogation in connection with the incident.

The intelligence wing of Goalpara police had said a few days back that a group of Ulfa cadres had entered the district under the leadership of Rajkhowa. The group was planning to carry out attacks with the help of Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a militant group based in Garo Hills in neighbouring Meghalaya.

The district administration has clamped Section 144 of CrPC in Goalpara district as a preventive measure.

The incident has sent shock waves across the district and raised questions about security arrangements ahead of Ulfa’s “raising day” on Sunday. The outfit usually carries out attacks to mark the occasion, the police said.

The Krishnai Rural Development Demand Committee, an NGO, alleged that the district police had completely failed to control the law and order situation. In Goalpara, the president of the organisation, Atifur Rahman, said, “The police had the information about the blast. We have seen a bomb squad making rounds in Krishnai area for few days. But they failed to prevent the attack.”

In Guwahati, an official statement from the chief public relations officer of Assam police headquarters, Rajib Kumar Saikia, said police and paramilitary forces have launched an operation in search of those involved in the attack. “The state government has announced ex gratia of Rs 8 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and free medical treatment to the injured,” the statement said.