Assam’s Director General of Police Jayanto Narayan Chouhdury on Monday said a hit squad of the Paresh Barua-led United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) was suspected to have been behind the grenade blast in the city’s Paltanbazar area here on Sunday that left 16 persons injured.

Mr. Choudhury said he would discuss with his Meghalaya counterpart the launch of a coordinated operation to apprehend Drishti Rajkhowa, the alleged mastermind behind the blast, and other militants of the hit squad active along the Assam-Meghalaya border.

Contrary to some eyewitnesses’ claim that the grenade was lobbed by two youths on a bike, the DGP, after inspecting the blast site, told journalists that preliminary investigations suggested that the attackers came on foot. The grenade was of Chinese make, he said.

Though insurgent groups no longer enjoyed public support, it would be wrong to conclude that militancy had ended as some extremists were still active in the State and would always try and carry out such attacks out of a desperation to prove their presence, the DGP said.

Meanwhile, the Kamrup (Metropolitan) district administration on Monday promulgated Section 144 and banned pillion riding on two-wheelers here and other areas of the district in the wake of the attack. However, persons above the age of 60, ailing persons travelling to and fro from hospitals, police personnel and armed forces in uniform, physically disabled and schoolchildren in uniformwere exempted.Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi visited the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital on Monday evening and spoke to the injured. The Asom Gana Parishad, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the All India United Democratic Front accused the Tarun Gogoi government of failing to prevent attacks by insurgents despite having prior intelligence.Three girl students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Hasimara in West Bengal, who sustained injuries in the grenade blast, were flown to Bagdogra, and were being escorted back to their home by a doctor, State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

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