Tinsukia: The grenade blast at Tingrai Bazar in Assam’s Tinsukia district last week was carried out on the instruction of senior ULFA-I leaders, said the police on Tuesday. Two youths — Hiren Gogoi and Ranjit Changmai — have been arrested for their involvement in the case, the police added.

Earlier, banned outfit ULFA-I had denied their role in the incident.

Special director general of police (DGP) GP Singh tweeted: “Both the accused involved in Tingrai grenade blast have been apprehended. The motorcycle used has also been recovered. @CMOfficeAssam @himantabiswa @assampolice @DGPAssamPolice Good work Team @TinsukiaPolice.”

Moments later, Singh again tweeted: “The blast was carried out at directions of Senior ULFA leaders based outside Assam.”

In a third tweet, Singh added: “1. Hiren Gogoi @ Robin @ Monu s/o Sri Bipul Gogoi of Lakhipathar ps Digboi 2. Ranjit Changmai of Lakhipathar. Both have active ULFA Connections.”

According to sources, based on specific information, a joint team of police and the Army arrested Gogoi from his residence at Lahipathar. “A black motorcycle has been recovered from his possession suspected to be used in the blast.”

The motorcycle used in the crime

Hours later, Changmai was detained from the same village by a team of Army and taken to their camp in Digboi. Sources added: “Senior police and army officials were interrogating him at the army camp.”

On May 11, two motorcycle-borne youths threw a grenade outside a hardware shop claiming the lives of Sanjit Singh Panikhowa and Surajit Talukdar and injuring two others. However, ULFA-I has denied their role in the blast.

Meanwhile, highly-placed sources privy to the interogation told this correspondent that Changmai has admitted that he was riding the motorcycle. “We are interrogating them for their links with the militant outfit, under whose instruction they carried out the blast and how the grenade reached them,” the sources added.

“Based on some leads, during marathon interrogation, an operation has been launched,” the sources said.

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However, senior police officials in Tinsukia are tight-lipped about the development since an operation is underway.

The police are yet to clarify whether the arrested youths were cadres of the banned outfit or working for them as linkmen besides some important questions including the motive behind the blast, how and when did the accused get access to the grenade, and the leader under whose instruction the blast was carried out.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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