Guwahati, Nov. 23: Terror exploded on Guwahati railway station, killing a family of three just over a fortnight after co-ordinated blasts at two places in the Assam capital claimed 16 lives.
The victims in the timed explosion that rocked the parking lot of the railway station at 5.30 pm today were one-and-a-half-year-old Uday and his parents Vinay and Rina Chauhan. At least 11 were wounded, two of them critically.
The bomb, with a timer connected to it, had been planted on a cycle rickshaw. Vinay was a rickshawpuller but it could not be immediately ascertained whether his three-wheeler was the bomb carrier.
Inspector-general of police (law and order) D.K. Pathak named the proscribed Ulfa as the main suspect. The militant group usually strikes at soft targets on or before its annual “protest day”, November 27.
The new chief of the army’s 4 Corps, Lt Gen. R.K. Chhabra, had said only yesterday that Ulfa regrouped and became stronger after the brief truce declared by Delhi before Independence Day. “They have come out very strong and without inhibitions about killing defenceless civilians,” he said.
Kusheswar Sarma, officer-in-charge of the Government Railway Police post at the railway station, said the casualties would have been higher had the explosion occurred five minutes earlier.
“Just five minutes before the bomb went off in front of my eyes, I had dispersed 70 to 80 people from the parking lot. We do not allow crowding in and around the railway station these days,” he said.
The cycle rickshaw in which the bomb had been concealed was blown to smithereens and an autorickshaw parked nearby turned into a mangled mass of metal. A pre-paid counter for autorickshaw travellers was damaged.
Northeast Frontier Railway spokesman Trikalagya Rabha said train services were unaffected. “The railway station is safe and all trains are plying normally. In fact, the Rajdhani Express arrived just after the explosion.”
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi described the attack as an “act of cowardice”. He said the government would compensate relatives of the victims and the injured in accordance with the established norms.
The AGP and the BJP said it was a shame that innocents continue to be killed in Assam.
The security strategy for Assam was overhauled after the twin blasts in the busy Chai Gali of Fancy Bazar and Pathar Quarry, on the outsk-irts of the city, on November 5.
An official delegation from Bhutan and Thai prince M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra were in the city when terror revisited Guwahati.