Jorhat, Nov. 21: Two cadres of the Paresh Barua-led Ulfa faction died when the explosives they were trying to plant on a railway track in Assam’s Sivasagar district exploded on them last night.
The incident comes a week before Ulfa’s black day, observed by the outfit on November 28every year to mark the launch of Operation Bajrang against it.
The explosion, suspected to have been caused by TNT or RDX, took place at Aouhatia Sarangabam, 10km off Sonari town between Bhojo and Longpotia railway stations. The blast site and the bodies were first noticed around 8am.
Police identified one of the cadres as Ramen Dhadomia, who is on their “wanted” list, and the other as Hiren Gogoi of Golaghat district.
Sivasagar superintendent of police A.K. Singh said Dhadomia, Ulfa’s self-styled sergeant major from Sapehkhati in Sivasagar district, had been trained in Myanmar and was suspected to be involved in several subversive activities in Upper Assam in recent times.
Singh said the exact time of the blast was not known.
A resident said he heard a blast at 1.45am, indicating that the Howrah-Dibrugarh Up Kamrup Express, which reaches Bhojo railway station at 2.30am, was the target. “Both the Up and Down Brahmaputra Mails cross Bhojo station five minutes apart at 1.30 and 1.35am. Since I heard a powerful explosion at exactly 1.45am, it is likely that the Howrah-Dibrugarh Up Kamrup Express was the target,” he said. He added that since the tracks were intact, both the Brahmaputra Expresses, the Kamrup Express and two goods train had crossed the place without any inkling about the blast.
However, the driver of Down Brahmaputra Mail, which was running late, said he did not notice any crater or bodies when he crossed the place at 7.40am.
The bodies were found lying about 100 feet from the track, perhaps flung that far with the impact of the blast. A bottle grenade, a letter pad, extortion notes, a battery, gunpowder and a khukri were also recovered from the site.
Tinsukia divisional railway manager B.N. Mahapatra said the tracks were intact but two sleepers had been badly damaged and a one-foot crater had been formed under them. “The trains possibly passed over these but this is only speculation as no one has been able to ascertain the blast time.”
The Paresh Barua faction, however, alleged that security personnel had killed their cadres yesterday and were now claiming that they had died in the bomb blast.
A railway officer said the track was restored at 1.45pm, leading to delay and rescheduling of trains. Amritsar Express from Dibrugarh was running behind schedule, Guwahati-Ledo Express, a short distance train, was terminated at Tinsukia, the Tinsukia-Mariani-Jorhat passenger train was cancelled, the departure of Mariani-Guwahati Down inter-city was rescheduled from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
The Paresh Barua faction, however, alleged that security personnel had killed their cadres yesterday and were now claiming that they had died in the bomb blast. The group’s publicity wing leader Arunodoi Dohotia stated that security personnel had arrested the two cadres and tied them to the tracks with a bomb before triggering the blast.