At least 16 persons including three girl students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Hasimara in West Bengal were injured in a grenade blast near busy Paltan Bazar police station in the heart of the city around 7.55 p.m. on Sunday night.

Inspector General of Police (Central Western Range) L.R. Bisnoi told The Hindu that condition of two injured persons were critical while rest 14 persons sustained minor injuries. The injured included a police constable and a police home guard.

Eyewitnesses claimed that two youth, who came on a motorbike, lobbed the grenade that went off few feet away from the boundary wall of the police station. The blast site is along the busy road leading to Guwahati railway station. The injured have been admitted to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital.

The senior police official said that the needle of suspicion was on the Paresh Barua-led faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom(ULFA) although investigations were on to arrive at a definite conclusion about the identity of the perpetrators.

Kamrup(Metropolitan) Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri told journalists at the blast site that a police check post was the target of the grenade attack.

The incident took place amidst intensified checking and patrolling by police and paramilitary forces in the city following intelligence inputs about plans by Paresh Barua-led faction of the ULFA, which now came to be known as ULFA(Independent) might trigger blasts in the city and different parts of the state.

Earlier on Saturday Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the ULFA (Independent) was behind the three grenade blasts in Lakhimpur and Karbi Anglong that occurred on July 23 and 24. He alleged that the self styled commander-in-chief ULFA(Independent) Paresh Barua was under tremendous pressure of forces abroad as well as within India to indulge in violence to prove the presence of the outfit’s presence and relevance.

The Chief Minister cancelled his scheduled official tour to South Africa from July 25 to August 2 in the wake sudden spurt in insurgent violence and while conveying his decision to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi about cancellation of his tour revealed that there were intelligence reports that militants would make attempts to carry out more such incidents in the state during the run up to the Independence Day.