Guwahati: At least 11 people were injured in a grenade blast in the busy Zoo Road area of Guwahati on Wednesday evening.
One person suffered critical injuries and is undergoing treatment at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital. Two among those injured are said to be security personnel.
According to police, the blast took place around 7:40pm in front of Guwahati Central mall, a busy stretch connecting the arterial RG Baruah Road.
Senior police officers, including Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar, rushed to the spot.
The area has been cordoned off and a forensic team has collected vital evidence. Sources said stone splinters were recovered from the blast site.
Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded and security has been tightened across the city.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal condemned the incident and directed the state police to expedite investigation and punish the guilty.
The Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro), Biswajit Pegu, said the government would hand over Rs 50,000 as compensation to those injured in the explosion.
“Preliminary investigation is on. The blast took place in front of Guwahati Central mall, near the team of security forces on routine patrol. We can’t yet ascertain who could be behind the blast. Since the past few days, Assam Police have intensified operations against insurgents, which led to apprehensions and surrenders of a large number of cadres. We have also recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition. This morning, three ULFA (I) rebels were nabbed in Tinsukia district,” said Assam DGP Kuladhar Saikia, who visited the blast site and took stock of the situation.
The blast took place at a time when a high-level security meeting was convened by Sonowal in the city. The CM had reportedly discussed the need to strengthen the security apparatus in Guwahati.
A section of regional media claimed Paresh Baruah, chief of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom – Independent (ULFA-I), has claimed responsibility for the blast through telephone calls.
Earlier in the day, in one of the biggest blows to the proscribed outfit, a hardcore cadre and self-styled militant, Tiger Asom alias Bubul Moran, was captured in a joint operation by the Army and Tinsukia police.
Asom (26) is listed in police records as an active ULFA cadre who was involved in the killing of Bordumsa police station officer-in-charge Bhaskar Kalita along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Tinsukia district last year.
Two others, Binondo Dahotia (24) alias Swadesh Asom and Chandrakant Borgohain (28) alias Tipong Asom were also apprehended.
ULFA (I) had last triggered a low-intensity blast in Guwahati on October 12 last year in the Fancy Bazar area.
The outfit had then claimed that it was a warning to those supporting the rehabilitation of Hindu Bengalis through the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.