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Foreign hand suspected behind Assam blasts

India suspects ULFA helped by Islamist militants in Bangladesh.

November 7, 2006

With international links suspected behind the blasts powerful blasts that killed at least 14 people in Guwahati, India has tightened security along its border with Bangladesh. More than a dozen people were reportedly wounded. 

The authorities have put the blame on the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for the two bomb blasts that rocked the north eastern region. Alleged involvement of foreign elements has also come to the fore. Officials suspect that the ULFA may have been assisted by Islamist militants in neighbouring Bangladesh. The ULFA has been fighting for an independent homeland for Assamese people for nearly three decades, and has been accusing the Indian government of looting the region's natural resources. 

Sundayís bomb blasts are the reportedly the biggest ever since the government had ended truce and called off peace talks with the rebels.

The officials are now probing the possibility of involvement of jehadi elements in the attacks. On Sunday, while one bomb went off in a crowded market in Guwahati, another one exploded just outside an oil installation. 

The blasts have again brought to focus Dhakaís alleged practice of giving refuge to rebels from the northeast and also of allowing them to run camps on Bangladeshi soil. However, the ever volatile Bangladesh, which has also been the target of militant attacks of late, has denied that it has been giving refuge to subversive elements. 

The Indian government, in the meantime, convened an emergency meeting of the Unified Command Council, which comprises the army and police forces, to review the security situation. The agenda concentrated on tackling rebels in the region. 

The day after the explosions dawned on Monday with local groups calling for a general strike in protest against the bomb attacks. However, the stir failed to evoke any response as schools, business establishments and transport services operated as usual.


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