Blast-ravaged Assam observes spontaneous bandhs

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Guwahati, Oct 31 (UNI) The blast-ravaged areas in Assam, including the capital city, today observed spontaneous bandhs as the state struggled to come to terms with the trail of deaths and devastation left behind by yesterday's serial blasts.

Curfew was again clamped in the worst-hit Ganeshguri here this afternoon when an angry mob braved tight security bandobast in the presence of the city SSP and went on a rampage. Police had to resort to blank firing and at least five people were injured in the ensuing melee.

Curfew was imposed for a brief period after the area witnessed an extremely powerful blast, which triggered successive explosions in oil tanks of parked vehicles, and subsequently irate mob burnt down ambulances and police vehicles in retaliation.

The curfew was later relaxed last evening.

Former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani visited the spot just minutes before the disturbance.

With 71 confirmed dead in the serial blasts in Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta Road till now and several critically injured struggling for life in hospitals, the toll might go up.

Panbazar and Fancy Bazar areas of the city also observed bandhs with all shops downing shutters and a simmering tension was prevailing here.

Lawyers shouted slogans against Mr Advani when the latter visited the blast spot in front of the Chief Judicial Magistrate court today.

Very few vehicles ventured out on the roads with auto rickshaw drivers taking out a rally earlier the day to protest yesterday's blasts.

The Ganeshguri blast took place at the auto rickshaw stand and about ten drivers were charred beyond recognition.

Kokrajhar town, where 21 people were killed in three blasts, wore a deserted look with business establishments and educational institutions remaining closed.

An eerie silence also prevalied in Barpeta Road town, where twin blasts had claimed 13 lives. A spontaneous bandh was observed by the people there.

Bongaigaon town also wore a deserted look after yesterday's mayhem.

Meanwhile, several organisations, including BJP, VHP and Asomiya Yuba Mancha, had given separate bandh calls tomorrow to protest yesterday's blasts.

UNI SG SJC KLC1415

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