Guwahati: Three passengers were killed and 30 more injured when extremists triggered a powerful blast in a general second class coach of the 901 Lumding-Tinsukia passenger train around 7.50 a.m. on Tuesday.
The train had just reached the Diphu station in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district when the explosion occurred.
The station is located on the Lumding-Dimapur section of Northeast Frontier Railway’s Lumding Division.
Police suspect it to be the handiwork of the extremist Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) operating in the hill district. Tuesday was the first day of an indefinite economic blockade called by the outfit to press its 10-point charter of demands.
Police believe the blast was triggered by a Programmed Time Delay device (PTD) that was probably concealed in a sack of vegetables.
The Assam government has sounded a red alert across the State.
The dead passengers have been identified as Raj Debnath (5), Moni Debnath (35) and Kamal Sing Teron (26). Six passengers were critically injured, three of whom were shifted to the Dimapur Army Hospital. The other injured passengers were admitted to the Diphu civil hospital.
Principal Secretary, Home, Subhash Ch. Das, told The Hindu that intelligence inputs had warned of a KLNLF plan to trigger blasts in Diphu, Dokmoka, Howraghat, Dongkamokam and Bokolia of the hill district starting December 1. Following this, police found two improvised explosive devices near the local Congress office at Howraghat and a passenger waiting shed near the Dokmoka police station.
Train services in the section resumed around 10.25 a.m., Chief Public Relations Officer of N.F. Railway Samir Kumar Goswami said in an official release. The 901 Lumding-Tinsukia Passenger also left Diphu around 11 a.m. after the affected coach was detached.
The N.F. Railway arranged for free passes to relatives of the injured to come to Diphu. Railway authorities also opened two helplines, 03674-264848 and 03674-264849, to provide information.
The incident has come a little over a month after the October 30 serial blasts in the State that claimed 88 lives and left 826 injured.
The KLNLF’s demands include the creation of a political institution for self-determination for the Karbi people of Karbi Anglong and contiguous Karbi-dominated areas of Assam and Meghalaya under Article 3 of the Constitution with additional powers under Article 371, and eviction of all non-indigenous people who have settled in the proposed self-rule institution after 1951.
A delayed report said that suspected KLNLF gunmen shot dead two members of a Hindi-speaking family at Dolamara, under the Bokajan police station of the district, on Monday. Police said KLNLF hit men went to the house and shot its members at point blank range.