Jonai toll rises to 4, ULFA denies any role

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Guwahati, Mar 16 (UNI) At least four people were killed and nearly 50 injured in an alleged ULFA-engineered blast at Jonai in Assam's Dhemaji district midnight just night.

District administration sources informed that the blast went off after midnight at Jonai where hundreds of Mishing community people had gathered to celebrate 'Ali-Aie-Lrigang'.

However, ULFA, in an unsigned press statement, sent through e-mail today, denied their involvement in the incident.

One person died on the spot while three others succumbed to their injuries later fourteen 14 of the critically injured were shifted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital in Dibrugarh, where one more person died. Toll is likely to rise further. Nearly 30 others who received minor injuries were admitted at the Dhemaji civil hospital.

Police confirmed that it was an IED device, a not a grenade adding that 13 people were killed in a similar blast by the outfit during the Independence Day celebrations in Dhemaji in 2004.

ULFA in two separte statements, first denied their role in the incident while in the next one declared that ''defensive attack'' from the militant organisation would continue.

The first one was signed by the ULFA's C-In-C Aurobindi Rajkhowa.

The outlawed ULFA is observing its 'Army Day' today to commemorate the raising of its armed wing. Security had been enhanced across the state ahead of the day as the outfit is known to strike on its 'Army Day'.

The security forces had also started major offensives against the outfit with killing two more ULFA militants yesterday while four others had a narrow escape, Six others had surrendered.

Two militants were killed in Silikhapathar in North Lakhimpur district, while four hardcore rebels of the ULFA managed to escape following an hour-long encounter in Tinsukia district.

Six rebels, linked with blasts in the capital city, had surrendered.

UNI MT PP SK GC1610

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