Guwahati: Assam police on Thursday arrested two persons including a pro-talks ULFA leader for their alleged involvement in the Guwahati grenade blast on Wednesday evening that left 11 persons injured. The blast targeting security personnel took place in front of Guwahati Central shopping mall in Zoo Road area, a busy stretch connecting the arterial RG Baruah Road.
According to Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar, ULFA leader Pranamoy Rajguru was picked up along with his associate Jahnabi Saikia from their Panjabari residence in Guwahati, based on specific intelligence inputs. The grenade attack, and the subsequent arrest of the duo has brought Guwahati’s unmonitored ULFA sleeper cells into focus.
“Pranamoy Rajguru is a senior ULFA cadre who joined the outfit in 1986. Operating under sleeper cells in Guwahati and adjoining areas, he helped the outfit execute their plans, and was assisted by Jahnabi Saikia. They have confessed to the crime, and our investigation will continue. We have come to know their modus operandi behind the blast, but we are trying to find out the greater design behind it,” said Kumar.
According to police, Jahnabi Saikia was not a full-fledged ULFA worker. An Assamese television actress, she was living with Rajguru in a 3-room rented accommodation in Guwahati, helping him in unlawful activities.
Police have recovered a 9mm pistol, 20kg explosives and materials used for making explosives and incriminating documents from their possession.
“We have also identified a few others behind the attack, and a search operation has been launched,” added Kumar.
A security analyst on condition of anonymity said the Assam police intelligence machinery should strengthen their capabilities to identify ULFA sleeper cells, if they are operating in the state.
“There seem to be some gaps in collection of intelligence as sleeper cells have been operating undisturbed for quite some time. The SB needs to plug those loopholes and collect specific intelligence regarding such sleeper cells. There may be more attacks of similar nature.”
ULFA-independent chief Paresh Baruah claimed responsibility for the blast by calling from an undisclosed location to a section in regional media. However, he has made no comments since Rajguru’s arrest.
ULFA (I) had triggered a low-intensity blast in Guwahati on October 12, 2018 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.