கௌஹாத்தி, அஸ்ஸாமில் உல்பா கம்யூனிஸ்டுகள் வெடிகுண்டுகளால் மக்களை தாக்கினர். 5 பேர் பலி 51 பேர் படுகாயம்
Serial blasts rocked Guwahati, 5 killed, 51 injured
1 Jan 2009, 2109 hrs IST, Bikash Singh, ET Bureau
GUWAHATI: Serial blasts rocked Guwahati early evening on New Year's Day, killing five people and severely injuring 51 others as Assam opened its A security man inspects the garbage bin where an IED blast took place, in Guwahati on January 1, 2009.
The three blasts, masterminded by Ulfa's 709 Batallion, at Birubari, Bhootnath and Bhangagarh happened even as the state was awaiting the landing of home minister P Chidambaram at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi airport. The third blast which was the most powerful of the three, took place barely 200 metres from the Times of India office in the city.
Chidambaram's most crucial engagement in Guwahati happens to be the Thursday evening and Friday morning meeting of the unified command, which is the apex counter insurgency body in the north east. The meeting would also have chief minister Tarun Gogoi participating.
It is strange that considering the importance of the event and the fact that Thursday was New Year's Day, the state security could have been so slack as to allow this sort of extreme terror manifest itself yet again. The security lapse was unpardonable also in the context of the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due in Guwahati on Friday morning and that he has a meeting with Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on the day. Considering that the city is unsafe, the meeting is scheduled within the airport complex itself. The prime minister will thereafter go to Shillong to attend the Indian Science Congress.
The last serial blasts took place in the city just two months ago on October 30, 2008, and had taken the city completely unawares. This time too, Guwahati was celebrating the New Year and the streets were full of revellers, eager for yet one more evening of fun. On October 30, the nine blasts had claimed 89 lives and left over 500 innocent people injured.
DIG, Assam Police, G.P Singh told ET :"ULFA is behind the blasts, we have intercepted messages". The first blast went off at about 2.35pm in a garbage bin in the Birubari area. The second blast took place around 5.15pm at Bhootnath in a teeming market place. Just 15 minutes later, the biggest of them all, rocked Bhangagarh, where 20 metres away was a mosque and just opposite the latest Big Bazaar shopping mall.
Like the October 30 blasts, the explosion at Bhangagarh also took place adjacent to a flyover. Intelligence agencies said that the explosions were designed to be triggered just prior to the home minister's visit to the city.
Chidambaram was whisked away to Raj Bhawan as soon as he landed. He had detailed discussions with Mr Gogoi.
"The timing of the blast was made with precision. The Bhootnath market place is just few metres away from the road which the home minister would have taken to reach Raj Bhavan. The home minister reached Guwahati around 6.30 pm. Maybe, the aim of the blasts was to attract the attention of the Union government" said The aim of the blast is to get the notice of government of India," intelligence sources told ET.
There was complete confusion in Guwahati after the blasts, with the city going back into its customary shell and people hurried home.
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