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Twin Bombings Hit Northeastern Indian State of Assam


Two deadly bomb blasts in India's northeastern state of Assam killed at least seven people and wounded more than 50 others Sunday

Two deadly bomb blasts in India's northeastern state of Assam killed at least seven people and wounded more than 50 others Sunday. Rebels blamed for the attacks are denying responsibility.

Authorities in the town of Nalbari say bombs strapped onto bicycles parked in front of a police station and a shopping complex exploded within minutes of each other.

Nalbari is located about 70 kilometers west of the state capital, Dispur. State officials have put Assam on high alert, asking people to stay indoors in case of further bombings.

The state's chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, is blaming the carnage on the United Liberation Front of Asom, known as ULFA. The head of the state government says intelligence reports had anticipated an act of retaliation following the arrests of two leaders of the Assamese separatist group two weeks ago in Bangladesh.

"We had got the reports that they're going to (set) off…bomb blast or other things. We got the information. It's not that we didn't get it," Gogoi said. "But the exact place, where is the place (was not known) because all of Assam is a target, not only one place."

An ULFA leader identifying himself as Commander Hira Sarania denied involvement in the attacks. He told local media the blasts were set off to discredit the rebel group and derail peace talks with the federal government. The ULFA official said the identity of the person responsible for the deadly bombings will be revealed soon.

The group is also being blamed for last Tuesday's explosion on railroad tracks in the Jorhat district of Assam, which derailed a freight train carrying diesel fuel. Twelve of the train's oil tanker cars caught fire

The federal government recently announced it would give safe passage to ULFA leaders who are willing to hold peace talks if they halt the violence.

The insurgency in the tea-and-oil rich state has gone on for decades. Ethnic groups in Assam fear their culture is being subsumed by millions of migrants who have moved into the state from other parts of India and Bangladesh, looking for jobs.

The region, once an independent kingdom, was subsequently taken over by the Burmese and then ruled by the British before becoming part of independent India.

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