The police are now suspecting the role of a new tribal outfit called the Adivasi People’s Army in the blast on the railway tracks on Sunday, after eliminating other possibilities. Initial suspicion was on the anti-talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland. However, the organisation said it had no hand in it. And the Paresh Barua-led anti-talks wing of the United Liberation Front of Asom has condemned the blast. The railway ministry has ordered an enquiry into the incident. Commissioner of railway safety (Northeast Frontier Railway) Balbir Singh will head the enquiry committee, which will submit its report in ten days.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said in the assembly on Monday a section of militant elements were trying to derail the ongoing peace initiative in the state and the subversive act was their handiwork. “The police suspect several militant elements in the blast. Investigations are on. I hope security forces will be able to find out who was behind the blast,” Gogoi said.
Eight bogies of the Puri-Guwahati Express were thrown off the rail under the impact of the blast. Four of them were found to be in an upright position but the rest fell on their sides on the bordering paddy field.
The Northeast Frontier Railway said 77 people were injured, three of them grievously. “We will be able to say who was behind the blast only after the completion of the investigation,” said B Rawat, additional director general (law and order), Assam police. Most of the injured were pilgrims. “It was my dream to go to the Puri Jagannath temple. Elders in my family have visited the place. My dream has been shattered and I will not go to Puri ever,” said Maya Rani Dutta Choudhuri, 70, from Kokrajhar district of western Assam. She has been admitted to the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). The railways have announced a compensation of R1 lakh for the severely injured and Rs10,000 for those with minor injuries.