Guwahati: In what is suspected to be an extortion related incident, two motorcycle-borne suspected Ulfa-I rebels on Friday lobbed a grenade in front of a hardware shop in which at least two people were killed while two others were injured at Tingrai Bazaar in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district.
The incident comes days after newly appointed Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s appeal to Ulfa-I commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah to shun the path of violence and join the peace talks for the development and prosperity of the state.
Police said that miscreants lobbed a grenade in front of a hardware shop owned by a person named Puranmal Agarwala.
According to reports, among those injured in the grenade attack was one Surajit Talukdar who succumbed to his injuries at the Assam Medical College and Hospital Dibrugarh. The other deceased person has been identified as Sanjiv Singh (25).
Two more persons have sustained injuries and are stated to be in critical condition.
Police reached the spot immediately after the incident and an investigation has begun. The Army and Police have cordoned off the area.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed concern over the grenade blast and asked DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta to deal with the incident sternly and nab the miscreants at the earliest.
Security sources said that preliminary reports suggest that it was an extortion related incident as Ulfa-I rebels have intensified extortion drives in upper Assam districts and are mounting pressure on businessmen, tea garden owners and business houses for paying extortion money. The incident was aimed at making their presence felt so that businessmen start responding to their extortion demands, security sources said.
Mr Sarma in a social media post informed that Union home minister Amit Shah called him to enquire about the grenade blast and condoled the death of two civilians. “I apprised the Union home minister on the matter and informed that Assam police has been asked to take stern measures against perpetrators and nab them immediately," he said.
It is significant that two days ago, on May 12, a 14-year-old boy was also killed in a grenade explosion in a village in Tinsukia district. According to authorities, the blast took place when the minor picked up an abandoned grenade near the Burhi Dihing River in Kotha Adarsha Gaon in Jagun.
Assam Police had termed the incident as unfortunate and suspect that the “grenade may have been dropped mistakenly by security forces during routine movement in the area.” Assam police in a statement said, “We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family. Further investigation is on.”...