Four injured in blast at Congress office; four BSF men killed (Roundup)March 15th, 2011 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS
Guwahati, March 14 (IANS) Four ruling Congress party leaders were injured in a powerful bomb blast at the party headquarters in the heart of Guwahati Monday evening while four BSF troopers were killed and 8 injured when Bodoland activists ambushed a bus in Kokrajhar district.
The two separate militant attacks took place in Assam, where assembly polls are due April 4 and 11.
The blast at Rajib Bhawan took place around 6.50 p.m. when the place was teeming with workers and leaders.
Earlier police said it was a grenade attack, but it was later confirmed that a bomb was planted inside the party headquarters in a garbage bin.
Congress spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora and Akshay Rajkhowa, and party general secretary Ranjan Bora were injured in the attack. Another Congress worker was also injured in the explosion.
The anti-talk faction of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) led by the elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Congress party headquarters located in the busy G.S. Road in Guwahati.
In the other incident, tribal separatists of the anti-talk faction of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) ambushed a bus carrying 20 BSF troopers around 8 p.m. near Ultapani in Kokrajhar district, about 220 km west of Assam’s main city of Guwahati.
“The BSF bus was on its way to their base camp at Ultapani after carrying out a routine patrol when heavily armed NDFB militants opened indiscriminate gunfire from automatic weapons,” a senior police official said.
Three BSF troopers were killed on the spot and nine injured, three of them critically. One of the injured later succumbed to his injuries.
The wounded were shifted to a local hospital with multiple bullet injuries.
“We suspect the NDFB anti-talk faction to be behind the attack,” the official said.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the ambush, but the NDFB is active in the area, police said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the Congress would never be cowed down by threats by ULFA hardliners.
“Threats to our leaders and workers by the ULFA is nothing new and let me make it very clear that we shall never be cowed down by such threats of attacks on our lives,” the chief minister told journalists after the blast.
“I condemn this cowardly act and let me assure that we are going to step up security and take action against the ULFA in the strongest possible way.”
A large portion of the Congress office was damaged in the impact of the blast.
“We were sitting inside the office when there was a deafening sound and the next moment I found myself bleeding with injuries in my face and neck,” Ranjan Bora told IANS.
“We suspect it was a bomb planted inside the office,” Assam police chief Shankar Baruah told journalists.
ULFA’s Paresh Baruah claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We claim responsibility for the blast and would like to warn the Congress party that we are still capable of attacking and the explosion is just a warning to them,” Arunodoy Dohoti, publicity chief of the anti-talk ULFA faction, said in an emailed statement.
The anti-talks faction of the ULFA last month in an emailed statement threatened to attack Congress leaders and warned people against participating in party rallies in the run up to the assembly elections.
The ULFA in the past has killed at least a dozen Congress leaders during elections beginning the 1996 assembly polls.
The ULFA statement last month said the Congress party was responsible for dividing the outfit - luring some leaders into holding peace talks with the government.
The first round of ULFA-government peace talks was held Feb 10 in New Delhi with the process being led by the outfit’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.
That the ULFA is vertically split was evident with Paresh Baruah terming the peace talks as ‘unconstitutional’ given the fact that Rajkhowa and other seven top leaders were being surrounded by ‘Indian forces’ - meaning the talks were being held under pressure from New Delhi.
But the pro-talk ULFA leadership led by Arabinda Rajkhowa has gone on record saying the decision to hold talks with the government had the sanction and approval of the ULFA general council.
- Five injured in blast at Congress office; 8 BSF men killed (Intro Roundup) - Mar 15, 2011
- Assam on alert after militant strikes (Lead) - Mar 15, 2011
- Security alert in Assam to foil militant attacks - Mar 15, 2011
- ULFA attack on Congress office injures three (Second Lead) - Mar 14, 2011
- Eight BSF personnel killed in Assam ambush - Mar 15, 2011
- Peace process on track despite Assam attacks - Mar 15, 2011
- ULFA, NDFB trying to create instability ahead of Assam polls - Mar 21, 2011
- Tribal student leader killed in Assam - Feb 22, 2011
- Peaceniks counter ULFA with volleyball - Apr 06, 2012
- Will not be cowed down by ULFA threats: Gogoi - Feb 20, 2011
- Grenade blast on Assam-Arunachal border - Apr 12, 2012
- Three BSF men killed in ambush - Mar 14, 2011
- Three ULFA rebels, cop killed in Assam gunfight - Mar 15, 2011
- ULFA splits into talk and anti-talk factions - Nov 20, 2011
- Five anti-talk ULFA cadres nabbed - Apr 21, 2012
Tags: akshay, assam, assembly polls, automatic weapons, bomb blast, bsf men, congress office, congress party, garbage bin, grenade attack, militant attacks, militant group, national democratic front, paresh baruah, party headquarters, police official, ranjan, routine patrol, ulfa, united liberation front