One killed, 15 injured in Assam market blast


Guwahati : At least one person was killed and 15 people were wounded, three of them critically, when a powerful explosion ripped through a village market in Assam Wednesday.

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A police spokesperson said the bomb went off at a crowded vegetable market in village Gulutuk in Kamrup district, about 50 km west of Assam's main city Guwahati.

"One person died on the spot with the intensity of the blast reported to be of high magnitude," Debojit Hazarika, the police chief of Kamrup district, told IANS.

Police officials at the site of the blast said most of the injured were shoppers or vendors.

"At least 15 people were injured in the explosion with three of them shifted to Guwahati Medical College in a very bad state," said a police official who did not wish to be named.

The police blamed the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) for the attack. "The ULFA is active in the area," Hazarika said.

The explosion comes a day after New Delhi set conditions for restarting peace talks with ULFA to end close to three decades of insurgency in Assam.

National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan Tuesday told a civil society team from Assam that New Delhi was ready to resume negotiations with ULFA but it wants a "communication from the rebel leaders expressing their willingness for unconditional talks".

Narayanan made the comments to Indira Goswami, a noted Assamese writer who met him along with three other members of a newly floated group called the Nagarik Shanti Mancha Assam (Citizen's Peace Forum of Assam).

Goswami, who was earlier heading the ULFA nominated People's Consultative Group (PCG), also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday.

"The government also said that the release of top jailed ULFA leaders would be considered only after the negotiations began," said Goswami, who has led three rounds of talks on behalf of PCG since October 2005.

The dialogue collapsed in September with New Delhi accusing the rebel group of stepping up violence and extortion in Assam.

Goswami said: "We will now appeal to ULFA and put across the government's view. If they are fighting for us, then they will have to listen to us."