The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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It’s a bike bomb, again

Guwahati, May 14: Another parked motorbike with a bomb strapped to it exploded in the Assam capital today, killing two persons and leaving 11 more wounded.

The perpetrator of the blast, which occurred in front of an apartment-cum-market complex at Athgaon around noon, was one of the casualties.

Jitmol Doley, the superintendent of police in charge of the Special Operations Unit, identified the carrier of the bomb as an 18-year-old Ulfa militant, Raktim. The slain militant, who used the names Ranjan and Abani Das as aliases, was from Nalbari.

The police officer said the improvised explosive device self-detonated within seconds of Raktim strapping it to the parked motorcycle. A 65-year-old man, Mathura Rai, was the second casualty. He died at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

The explosion was so powerful that windowpanes of H.M. Apartments and several other buildings on S.J. Road were shattered.

Mehboob Ali, general secretary of the Athgaon Yubak Sangha, said the number of deaths would have been much higher had the blast site not been less crowded than usual.

“I heard a deafening sound at 12.10 pm. I came out of the office of the Athgaon Yubak Sangha and saw people running hither and thither. When I went near the spot, I found at least five people lying in a pool of blood. We swung into action and took the wounded to the nearby Marwari Maternity Hospital for first aid,” Ali added.

The wounded persons are B.L. Agarwal, R.S. Chaudhury, Bhagen Misra, Pradip Nath, Niranjan Roy, Govinda Biswas, Safiur Rahman, Krishna Sarma, Haripada Debnath, Ranjit Singh and Uday Choudhury. All of them were shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

M.M. Deka, principal-cum-chief superintendent of the hospital, said their condition was stable.

The police said Raktim entered the city a week ago with a plan of subversion. They were able to confirm his identity from a photograph found in his pocket.

A crowd pelted the police with stones in the wake of the blast, inviting a lathicharge. Frustrated at the inefficacy of security arrangements, residents had even tried to chase away a team from Bharalumukh police station.

“Today’s blast was the third at Athgaon. Despite repeated pleas, the administration and the police have not made adequate security arrangements in the area,” an irate resident of the locality said.

The police said they were “compelled to use some force” to disperse the crowd, but denied caning the residents.

Cars, cycles and motorbikes with explosives strapped to them have become Ulfa’s preferred terror weapon in Guwahati. A powerful explosion, triggered with a timer device attached to a bicycle, rocked a Food Corporation of India storage depot in New Guwahati recently. Since not many people were in the vicinity of the blast, only two were wounded.

Last week, a plastic bag containing three packets of potato chips and a gift box exploded near the reception counter of a diagnostic clinic in the heart of Sivasagar town, minutes after the woman who was seen carrying it slipped out unnoticed. Five persons were wounded in that explosion.

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