Assam bombings toll rises to 77, dozen suspects held (Lead)

October 31st, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyGuwahati, Oct 31 (IANS) The death toll in the serial bombings in Assam rose to 77 with 13 more people succumbing to their injuries, even as a dozen suspects were picked up for interrogation from various parts of the state, officials said Friday. “The death toll as of now is 77 with several of the injured succumbing at various hospitals across Assam,” Assam Home Commissioner Subhas Das said.

Police, meanwhile, picked up about a dozen suspects for interrogation.

“We are making good headway in our investigations and should be able to zero in on the people or groups involved in the serial bombings,” said a senior Assam police official requesting anonymity.

It was a black Thursday for Assam as the state was rocked by a wave of bombings - 12 blasts in quick succession - six in Guwahati, and six in the three western districts of Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon.

Sixty-four people were killed Thursday in the bombings that also left more than 300 wounded, at least 70 of them critically.

“The injured are being treated at various hospitals and if required we shall shift some of the victims to Delhi or other places for advanced treatment,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told IANS.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Friday visited blast sites in Guwahati and met injured victims at the hospital although he was greeted with the slogan “Go back Advani” by lawyers in the city.

“We don’t want politicians to come and politicise the situation,” a group of lawyers shouted as he visited one of the blast sites.

The BJP leader lashed out at the central and the state governments for failing to provide security to the people.

“The government both at the centre and in Assam is responsible for the blasts. Illegal Bangladeshi infiltration is one of the reasons and the prime minister needs to explain to the people what the government did to check the influx,” Advani told reporters.

While there was anger in the eyes of the people, police investigators were trying to piece together evidence from the blast sites.

“We cannot comment on anything now,” said a National Security Guards (NSG) detective in Guwahati. A seven-member elite NSG team arrived Thursday evening to help in the investigations.

“We are determined to fight back terror and ensure security to the people of Assam,” said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil is scheduled to arrive in Guwahati later Friday to take stock of the situation.

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