Lower Assam district Nalbari observed a total bandh on Monday to protest Sunday’s twin blasts. The 12-hour protest called by the district unit of the All-Assam Students Union (AASU) disrupted normal life as educational institutions, banks and other financial institutions, and markets remained closed, and vehicles were off the road. Police in neighbouring Baksa district arrested a youth, Kumud Thakuria, in connection with the blasts at Nalbari town, which claimed seven lives and left 55 injured. He was handed over to the Nalbari police.
In northern Assam’s Sonitpur district, security forces recovered a powerful improvised explosive device from near the Namile area along a road used by army troops to reach Tawang and forward areas of the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Operational Command of the three-tier Unified Command Structure of the Army, the Assam police and Central paramilitary forces reviewed the counter-insurgency operations in the wake of the blasts and the spurt in the activities of the United Liberation Front of Asom in the run-up to the outfit’s annual protest day on November 27.
ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa condemned the blasts as an “act of sabotage to obstruct the process revived by us for a peaceful political resolution of the Indo-Assam conflict.” In an e-mail statement, he indicated that the blasts were the handiwork of a militant outfit of the State. “We appeal to those cadres, irrespective of whichever armed organisation they belong to, to refrain from such acts of killing innocent people and we also appeal to the people of Assam to remain cautious to prevent such acts.”
The Assam police suspect the hand of the ULFA in the blasts.