Guwahati: The anti-talk faction of ULFA led by Paresh Baruah was behind the grenade blast at Paltan Bazar in the heart of the city that left 15 people injured, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Monday.
He said ULFA(I) had carried out the blasts on last night with help from outside agencies and directed officials to take necessary steps to prevent such incidents.
Gogoi admitted that there must have been some security lapse "otherwise the blast would not have taken place".
"Outside agencies do not want development in Assam and as such are pressuring insurgent outfits active in the state to carry out such blasts...If there is development in Assam, the problem of unemployment will end and youth will not join any insurgent outfit. As a result, these outside forces will lose ground," he told reporters at Mariani.
Director General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury told newsmen at the blast site here that ULFA(I) top leader Drishti Rajkhowa was the mastermind of the blast.
"We got intelligence inputs that Paresh Barua-led ULFA(I) may carry out subversive activties in the run-up to Independence Day," he said.
With warnings of more such incidents, the government has put in place measures to prevent them while security has been tightened in vulnerable areas across the state. Checking, patrolling and intelligence gathering have been stepped up.
Noting that the grenade thrown yesterday was of Chinese make, he said, "Chinese ones are easily available and their casings are made of plastic. Because of that the blast was less intense."
A National Investigation Agency team that carried out investigations at the blast site during the day too confirmed that it was a Chinese grenade.
A Unified Command Structure meeting was held with the
chief secretary, 4 Corps commander, senior paramilitary forces and police officers here today.
The meeting discussed the law and order situation in the state and the possibility of joint operations with other N-E states against militants, official sources said.
The Chief Minister has also convened a high level meeting to discuss the prevailing situation in the state.
Meanwhile, all the 15 injured in the blast admitted to Gauhati Medical College Hospital are stated to be stable.
Three girls, who are members of a basketball team from West Bengal, have been discharged, hospital sources said.
Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said a team of doctors will take back to West Bengal the basket ball players of Kendra Vidyalaya - Priyanka Rai, Jharna Jha and Salma Banu.
The blast took place last night near Guwahati railway station adjacent to Paltan Bazar police station at around 7.55 pm. Two home guards were among the 15 injured.
The explosion was the fifth in the state in the last seven days. ULFA militants normally try to create trouble during the run-up to the Independence Day.
Last week six persons were injured in a grenade blast at a busy market area at Bokolia town in Karbi Anglong district.
Suspected anti-talk ULFA faction triggered three serial grenade blasts in Lakhimpur district injuring five persons in the high security Deputy Commissioner Court Road, Jail Road and Chawlkhowa areas.