Guwahati: Just two days of ahead of Durga Puja, an explosion in Pan Bazar in the heart of Guwahati rocked Assam, leaving four injured. The blast happened along the footpath, about 500 m from Pan Bazar police station. The explosives were believed to have been buried under a debris of sand and bricks, the police said.

In the blast, four people were injured. The injured persons were taken to the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury (MMC) Hospital. One of the injured, who was on a city bus, said a brick hit the window of the bus breaking the glass, which injured him.

The injured persons have been identified as Kalpa Jyoti Talukdar, Taifuddin Ahmed, Naru Das and Binita Das.

Ballistic experts with sniffer dogs at the blast site

Sukleswar ghat near the blast site is near one of the busiest market places in the city, and with Durga Puja around the corner, it raises serious security issues.

Meanwhile, the proscribed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) (Independent) has claimed responsibility for the blast. The chief of the anti-talks fraction of the underground outfit, Paresh Baruah, while speaking to local new channels, said the blast was against the central government’s decision to shelter the illegal Hindu Bangladeshi refugees.

However, the blast has left the administration and security agencies exposed about lapses in security arrangements ahead of the festive season.

With the rest of the country, Guwahati is gearing up to celebrate Durga Puja. The extent of celebration can be assessed from the number of public puja pandals in the city. This time, the number of puja pandals will exceed 500, as per reports.

The city police, for the safety of the people, earlier issued warnings that untoward activities could happen and for that specific security measures were also devised.

Meanwhile, Pradip Saloi, commissioner of police, said, “Security measures include CCTV recordings, volunteers, and private security guards. CCTV installation in all puja pandals is a must as there might be untoward activities.”

Security has also been beefed up across the state, including Guwahati. Around 25,000 volunteers will also aid the police in this regard.

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