12 people -- 2 of them critically -- were injured in the incident that took place near the Assam state zoo at 7.40 pm on Wednesday; ULFA(I) claims responsibility for attack
Guwahati: A high-level team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) visited the grenade blast site near Guwahati Central mall on the busy RG Baruah Road in Guwahati, Assam on Thursday morning.
Sources in the NIA informed EastMojo that the central investigation agency has taken a suo-moto cognizance into the case. Following the preliminary investigation, the NIA will file a case soon.
Meanwhile, a massive search operation has been initiated across the city to look for the suspects even as a red alert has already been sounded in the region following the grenade blast near the state zoo on Wednesday evening. Immediately after the incident, banned militant outfit ULFA(I) had claimed responsibility for the explosion in which 12 people, two of them critically, were injured.
Meanwhile, the state government has announced free treatment to those injured in the blast. Deputy commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) Biswajit Pegu has announced that the state government will provide Rs 50,000 each to those injured in the blast.
According to latest reports, two of the injured have been shifted to the Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya for their eye-related injuries. For their severe burn injuries two persons, Amit Kumar Kanthal and Riya Kanthal, have also been shifted to the Nemcare Hospital in Guwahati. Some of the injured are also getting treatment at the Kuntal Goswami Memorial Trust (KGMT) at Geetanagar area of the city.
Two Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel also sustained injuries during the blast. The SSB personnel have been identified as ASI Ramesh Lal (45) and constable Amulya Lalan (30). The other injured have been identified as Fardeen Hussain Rahman (21) from Golaghat, Amit Kumar Kanthal from Geetanagar in Guwahati, Amit Kumar’s daughter Riya Kanthal (15), Sultan Jahidur Rahman (52), Bijoy Kumar Saw (22), Kalyan baishya (28), Lala Kumar Yadav (16) and Edward Hmar (18).
Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal has already condemned the incident. He directed the state DGP Kuladhar Saikia to immediately arrest the people involved in the incident. Saikia also reached the blast site on Wednesday night to assess the situation.
“I condemn the blast in Guwahati and assure that perpetrators shall not be spared. Victims are admitted in KGMT, GMCH and Nemcare and being treated by senior doctors. MoS Sri @Pijush_hazarika and senior health officials are personally monitoring. I am keeping a close watch,” senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took to Twitter to convey his message.
“We are keeping our eyes and ears open,” Assam’s director general of police (DGP) Kuladhar Saikia had said moments after visiting the site of grenade blast on Wednesday night. The incident took place around 7.40 pm when a grenade was hurled at some security personnel in the crowded locality.
“We have started investigation into the matter, According to the commissioner [Guwahati police commissioner Deepak Kumar], the blast took place during the regular police checking. Investigation as to which group is behind the blast is yet to be ascertained. I’ve spoken with the CM and the people behind it will be punished. I have reached the site to take stock of the situation and also to begin investigation at the earliest,” Saikia told media persons.
Senior Assam minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya also visited the blast site on Wednesday night and said, “I saw police checking going on. Very unfortunate incident. As a crowded place, civilians have been targeted. We can’t pinpoint anyone unless we receive accurate information. Through this, the militant organisation wanted to prove their power, I believe.”
Visiting the injured at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), state minister Pijush Hazarika later said, “I condemn the ones behind the attack. Innocent civilians shouldn’t be targeted. This incident shows that Assam is going backward. This is no way to show power. Free medical treatment with all modern medical facilities will be provided to the injured. Killings do not solve any problems.”
Queen Ojah from BJP and Bobbeeta Sharma from the Congress -- the two candidates for the prestigious Gauhati Lok Sabha seat -- among many others, also visited the blast site on Wednesday evening.