Centre condemns Assam blasts; says divisive forces responsible

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New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today held a high level meeting to discuss the serial blasts in Assam, which killed 70 people and injured 300.

The meeting, chaired by Mr Patil, was attended by Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, Special Secretary internal security M L Kumawat, Director Intelligence Bureau P C Haldar.

Home Minister spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to get details regarding the blasts which rocked the lower Assam. He had condemmned the blasts stating it was the handiwork of divisive forces, which want to destabilise the country.

The Union Cabinet is also understood to have discussed the internal security situation in the country.

Condemning the blasts, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said all possible assistance would be provided to the state.

Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta has also spoken to the Chief Secretary of the state, seeking details of the blasts.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil would visit the state on Saturday, he said, adding, two separate teams from the Union Home Ministry had already arrived by a special aircraft to examine the scene.

Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmad has said it is very difficult at this stage to say who was responsible for the blasts but it appears to be the handiwork of people who indulge in the politics of hatred.

The government initially suspected ULFA's hand but keeping in view the intensity, synchronisation and timing of the blasts, the needle of suspicion pointed at HUJI militants, active in Assam.

'' However, ULFA angle cannot be ruled out, '' said Assam Government spokesman Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The Home Ministry Expert team has also refused to make any comment at this moment, but the Assam Police was convinced that it was a HUJI attack the ULFA did not have access to such explosives.

On the other hand, the proscribed ULFA quickly denied any involvement through an e-mail.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister said all possible steps would be taken to maintain peace and bring the perpetrators of such acts to book.

''Such barbaric acts targeting innocent men, women and children only highlight the desperation and cowardice of those responsible, '' Dr Singh, representing the state of Assam in the Rajya Sabha, said.

UNI AJ GT AS2330

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