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8 killed in Assam blasts

M.S. Prabhakara and PTI

Suspected ULFA militants strike on eve of Manmohan’s visit

Guwahati: On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Assam, suspected militants of the United Liberation Front of Assam on Monday set off three blasts and mounted a grenade attack within five hours. Eight persons and over 62 were injured in the terror attacks.

Assam DGP G.M. Srivastav said seven people were killed and 56 injured in a powerful blast in a crowded market in Guwahati’s Maligaon around 2 p.m.

The explosion sparked a fire that set ablaze two cars and 20 motorcycles and spread to a three-storey building housing the area police station.

Six were killed at the blast site. One died of injuries after jumping from an adjacent building which had caught fire. The bomb is suspected to have been hidden in a car or a motorcycle parked adjacent to the North-East Frontier Railway headquarters.

“This is the handiwork of ULFA boys ahead of the outfit’s Raising Day” Mr. Srivastav said, adding the militants used hi-tech explosives.

A bomb was set off by unidentified persons in Santipur near Bokajan earlier in the day.

Suspected ULFA militants also set off a bicycle bomb explosion in Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district later. Four people were injured, one of them seriously, in this incident. According to an unconfirmed report, he later died of his injuries.

An unidentified youth lobbed a hand grenade at Mankachar police station in Dhubri district, killing a police driver and injuring another.

In the Guwahati blast, four of the dead, including a minor girl, have been identified.

The Foundation Day of ULFA is observed on April 7 every year, marking the founding of the organisation on this day in 1979.

Congress sources said there will be no change in the Prime Minister’s programme. He is to address an election rally in Dibrugarh.

Dr. Singh represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha and the rally marks his entry into the poll campaign trail.

The explosions have taken place amidst reports that two top bombing experts of the ULFA, identified by the police as Monohari Rajbongshi and Pradip Kalita, recently arrived in the city to carry out such attacks.

Police released their photographs on Friday.

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