No compromise on terrorism, says PM; breakthrough in Assam blast probe (Roundup)

November 1st, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghGuwahati, Nov 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said there cannot be any compromise on terror, even as the Assam Police arrested three people in connection with Thursday’s bombings, including a man from whose mobile phone an SMS was sent in the name of an unknown terror group claiming responsibility for the blasts that killed 77 people.”We will not be soft on terror and there will be no compromise on terror,” the prime minister told journalists in Assam’s main city of Guwahati after visiting the blast sites and meeting the injured in hospitals.

He was accompanied by Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.

“Whosoever is responsible for the dastardly act… we will take effective measures and if other governments are involved, we will take up this matter with them also,” the prime minister said.

He refused to divulge details of investigations into the serial bombings Thursday that killed at least 77 people and wounded about 300.

“We will look into all clues and proper investigations are on, but it would not be right to tell anything more at this stage,” the prime minister maintained.

He also announced ex-gratia of Rs.400,000 each to the next of kin of those killed and Rs.100,000 to those injured.

Meanwhile, police said they had made vital breakthroughs in the investigations into the wave of bombings.

Nazir Ahmed was arrested from Moirabari in eastern Assam’s Morigaon district. An SMS had been sent to a local television channel Friday from his mobile phone in the name of ‘The Islamic Security Force (Indian Mujahideen)’ claiming responsibility for the bombings, the worst the state has seen.

According to the Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Ahmed had submitted false identity proof documents to get his mobile connection. He is being grilled by special teams of the intelligence and police.

Two other arrests were made in connection with the blasts, Mahanta said. One man was arrested as his car was used in the Panbazar bombing in front of the district magistrate’s court in Guwahati. The other arrested man’s motorcycle was used in the bombing in Bongaigaon.

Mahanta said three cars were used in the six blasts that rocked this city, and not any motorcycles as thought earlier. The bombings in the city killed 45 people.

The explosions took place in the Ganeshguri market, the chief judicial magistrate’s office in Panbazar and Fancy Bazar. Two explosions rocked each of the places, within minutes of the first.

Police now say two powerful explosives were packed into each of the three cars and timed to go off within minutes.

The explosives used were a mixture of RDX, ammonium nitrate and plasticized explosives, Mahanta said. “We have got other vital leads and will be able to crack down on the masterminds very soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state cabinet met Saturday morning and decided to introduce a police commissioner’s post to deal with terrorism so that he would have enough magisterial powers.

“The cabinet also decided to offer handsome cash rewards to anyone providing clues to the bombing,” said government spokesperson and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Assam 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 Thursday afternoon.

The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Saturday denied its hand in the explosions and said the outfit did not have links with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI).

“We do not have any links with the HuJI and we shall never have any such links in future as well,” ULFA said in a statement.

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