5 killed, 69 hurt in Kumarikata blast From Our Correspondent NALBARI, June 29 – Close on the heels of the unilateral ceasefire declared by the ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies of the 28th battalion of the ULFA, a powerful IED blast ripped apart the Kumarikata weekly market around 1.15 pm today, killing four persons on the spot and injuring 69 others. One of the wounded later succumbed to his injuries at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). Four out of the five dead, including three women, have been identified as Milee Boro (38) of Turabari village, Sharmila Murmu (40) of Singramari, Gaphuli Narzary ( 40) of Saribhella and Robin Soren (45) of Singrimari.
Among the injured, 45 are stated to be in serious condition and they have been shifted to the GMCH. The death toll could go up in view of the critical condition of a few injured.
According to eyewitness accounts, the explosive was kept in a thatched house of the pig market and when the bomb went off the area was crowded with people. A chaotic situation prevailed thereafter with people running helter-skelter in fear.
Baksa Deputy Commissioner Pranabjyoti Gohain and other police officials rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. As the district Superintendent of Police is on leave, the DC himself was monitoring the post-blast situation in the area.
Following the blast, security arrangements have been beefed up in the area and also along the entire stretch of the Indo-Bhutan border in the district.
Terming the incident as the handiwork of suspected ULFA militants, the DC said that Kumarikata had been a major base of the outfit.
Our Guwahati Correspondent reports that following today’s blast at Kumarikata area, which claimed the lives of five tea-tribe labourers and left many more injured, various organizations, including the All Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (AATTSA), have urged the State Government to provide adequate security cover in all the tea tribes-dominated areas.
The AATTSA, while condemning the blast, said that the State Government must take immediate steps to save the lives of the poor tea tribe labourers, who over the years have been facing the brunt of the insurgency problem in the State.
“Already the tea industry is languishing and its grassroots level workers are facing enormous problem and such ‘ruthless’ attacks would aggravate the scenario in the State,” said Pallab Lochan Das, general secretary, AATTSA.
The association also urged the Central and the State Government to initiate steps to facilitate peace talks with banned outfits including the ULFA.
The association is likely to submit a memorandum to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi apprising him about the security scenario of the tea tribes-dominated areas.
“We do not know who is behind the blast but such acts of cowardice would not fetch them anything. We are sitting for a meeting tonight to chalk out our future course of action in this regard,” Das added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, tea cell, has also condemned the blast stating that strict action should be taken against the culprits.
Bhagirath Karan of Congress tea cell has urged the State Government to beef up the security arrangements in and around the tea tribe dominated areas.
“We appeal to the Government to provide necessary ex-gratia to the families of the dead and also provide medical facilities to the injured,” he added.