Multiple bombings kill scores, rattling northeastern India
While no one has claimed responsibility, local authorities are pointing fingers at a separatist group.
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No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but The New York Times reports that local authorities are blaming the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which has been fighting for Assamese independence since 1979.Skip to next paragraph
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The region is both physically and culturally distant from the rest of India. The diversity here is staggering. The region's seven states are home to more than 200 different ethnic groups that include Christians, Hindus, animists, Muslims, and even a tribe believed to be Jewish. More than 7,400 civilians, 2,100 security personnel, and 4,500 alleged militants have died in a dozen ethnic and religious conflicts throughout the northeast since 1992.
Recently, the government of India has enjoyed a cease-fire with some parts of ULFA although it has maintained its campaign against those parts that would not commit to the deal. "So the ULFA is striking back in a massive way by taking on soft targets," Assam police chief RN Mathur told the BBC.
According to The Hindu, ULFA has denied responsibility for the attacks.
Terrorist attacks in India have become more frequent and more deadly in recent months. The country's Muslim communities are often blamed for the violence and feel unfairly accused, reports The New York Times, which says that attacks like Thursday's bombings in Assam highlight the deep problems India faces with regional separatism.
The blasts in Assam were the latest in a series of bomb attacks in several parts of India. Even by the standards of this fractious and sprawling country, the spate of recent terrorism has been unusual and unsettling: seven attacks in four months, with a death toll of about 150.
India's Muslims have grown resentful at being blamed by the authorities for many of the attacks. Last Friday, though, the police said that they had arrested three people suspected of involvement in bombings last month in Malegaon, a small city in western Maharashtra State that has long simmered with religious tension. At least one of the suspects belonged to the youth wing of a Hindu nationalist political party, police officials said, and several Indian news organizations have described the case as the first glimpse into radical Hindu groups that plot terrorist attacks. The bomb in Malegaon exploded in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, killing four people.