Special Correspondent

48 injured in explosions , ULFA hand suspected

Explosion in wholesale market on Friday, injures 20Four blasts on Thursday night, 28 injured

Guwahati: Five persons were killed and 48 injured in serial blasts that took place in different parts of the State since Thursday night.

The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is suspected to be behind the explosions.

In the city, five persons died and at least 20 were injured, two of them seriously, when an explosive device went off at the wholesale vegetable market at Machkhowa around 4.15 p.m. on Friday.

City Senior Superintendent of Police Nitul Gogoi told The Hindu that the blast was caused by a time-delay device. On Thursday, 28 people were injured in four blasts at Dhubri, Golokganj, Mangaldoi and Haibargaon.

The ULFA is yet to claim responsibility for the blasts. But Inspector-General of Police Khagen Sharma said the self-styled commander of ULFA's 28 Battalion, Mrinal Hazarika, who was arrested recently, had revealed that ULFA chief Paresh Barua had ordered all battalions to carry out attacks from June 9 to 11.

Assamese writer Indira Goswami, who has been facilitating discussions between the ULFA-formed People's Consultative Group (PCG) and the Centre, told reporters in New Delhi that the Centre was willing to release the leaders to hold direct talks. The ULFA chief had demanded the release of the outfit's central committee members.

After meeting National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, Dr. Goswami said the next round of talks had been fixed for June 22. Mr. Narayanan had agreed to be present at the meeting to be presided over by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

The Asom Gana Parishad has condemned the blasts and appealed to those involved to stop bloodshed.

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