Isha khan’s Weblog

India’s eastern revolutioneries
June 29, 2008, 2:40 pm
Filed under: India

Assam market blast kills four

West Bengal and Assam map

At least four people have been killed in a bomb blast at a crowded market in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, police say.

Fifty others were wounded in the explosion at Kumarikata in the west of the state near the border with Bhutan.

Police blamed the attack on separatist rebels belonging to the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa). They said the bomb was in response to a truce announced by some Ulfa commanders which the group’s top leaders oppose.


“The bombs exploded when there were hundreds of villagers in the market. This is a serious attack and a very heinous one,” said Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. The BBC’s Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says a number of the wounded have been taken for treatment to the Assam state capital, Guwahati.

Assam police intelligence chief Khagen Sharmah told the BBC the explosion was a “direct reaction” to the ceasefire declaration by some Ulfa commanders. “There is no doubt that such a powerful explosion can be done by only one group in Assam and that is the Ulfa,” he said. Ulfa has not said it carried out the bombing or denied it. The group began an armed rebellion against what it describes as colonial rule by Delhi in 1979. Thousands of people have died in the violence.

An effort to start peace talks between the rebels and the Indian government broke down in 2006. The rebels are seeking a separate homeland for the Assamese people and demanding the departure of the non-indigenous population, particularly Hindi speakers. Earlier in June, some Ulfa commanders started secret negotiations with the Assam government and the Indian army, following which they announced a ceasefire. Top Ulfa leaders say they have fallen into a “government trap”.





Rebels sink Indian police launch


Forty police officers are feared drowned in eastern India after a police motor boat capsized after coming under attack from a suspected Maoist rebels.

More than 50 members of an elite anti-insurgency force were aboard the boat, which was patrolling the Chitrakonda reservoir in Orissa state. The suspected rebels – who have been fighting the Indian government for decades – opened fire from a hilltop. Eight of the officers managed to swim to the shore, but 40 are still missing.

A local Superintendent of Police, Satish Kumar Gajbhiye, told the BBC there were about 60 men on the boat – four of them, including two drivers of the motor launch, from the Orissa police force. The rest were from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Four of the survivors had gunshot injuries and were being treated in hospital, he added. A rescue operation involving fire brigade personnel and helicopters has been launched. But the BBC’s Sandeep Sahu says that the water level in the sprawling reservoir is about 40m (131ft), and there is little chance of any survivors being found. He adds that the incident is one of the biggest setbacks for security forces fighting insurgents in the thickly forested border areas of Andhra Pradesh, long considered a safe haven for the Maoists.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist uprising as the biggest internal security threat the country faces.



Posted by Isha Khan, who can be reached at

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