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Terrorism & Security

Multiple bombings kill scores, rattling northeastern India

While no one has claimed responsibility, local authorities are pointing fingers at a separatist group.

By Liam Stack / October 30, 2008

India's northeastern state of Assam was rocked by a coordinated wave of bombings Thursday morning, although estimates of the number of bombs, wounded, and dead vary widely. It is the latest attack in a four-month-long rash of violence that has killed more than 150 people.

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Just hours after the attack, news sources disagreed on the number of explosions as well as the death toll.

The New York Times reports there were nine blasts killing 55 and injuring 100, while The Times of India reports 13 explosions and some 300 injured. Reuters says there were 11 explosions injuring 235, and the BBC reports 18 blasts killing 50 and injuring more than 150.

The BBC reports that most of the bombs went off in the state's main city, Guwahati, targeting a neighborhood home to many senior police officials. Bombs also exploded at busy markets across Assam.

Reuters describes the scenes of the blasts as chaotic and devastating.

Firefighters doused smouldering remains of cars and motorcycles at one of the blast sites in Guwahati. One of the blasts targeted a high security zone with a court as well as offices and homes of senior police officials.
Many of the blasts were in crowded markets in the state....
Television channels showed some people lying on the streets...
Some of the walking wounded were helped into ambulances by local people and police.

Protesters took to the streets within minutes, reports The Hindu.

Angry mobs in Guwahati went on a rampage, attacking and torching police vehicles, fire tenders and buses and pelted stones on police barricades at the blast sites.
A group of people shouting slogans against the government carried a body in a handcart to the gate of the Secretariat complex here.
A rattled Chief Minister vowed to deal firmly with the situation. It is the handiwork of anti-national extremist forces, [he] said in a statement.

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