Patil, Advani visit Assam; NSG team collects vital clues

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Guwahati, Oct 31 (UNI) As Assam was struggling with pain to come to terms with the trail of deaths and devastation following yesterday's serial blasts, NSG sleuths today launched an investigation to close in on the culprits with suspicion firmly trained on ''jehadi'' elements engaged in cross-border terrorism.

The NSG experts visited the bomb blast sites after sealing off the entire area and picked up some vital clues.

Tension simmered at the worst-hit Ganeshguri area of Guwahati with curfew reimposed this afternoon after an angry mob indulged in vandalism, braving a tight security bandobast.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil also arrived in the state to take stock of the situation and would visit the affected areas, including Kokrajhar.

BJP leader L K Advani, who made a hurricane visit to the blast -affected areas here this morning, claimed that terrorism, sponsored and supported from across Bangladesh, had led to the Assam carnage.

''It can be ULFA or Jehadi forces, but the fact remains that they are being guided by the ISI, whose main design is to destabilise the whole country. The government must exert pressure on Bangladesh through diplomatic channels to stop cross-border terrorism,'' Mr Advani told reporters here.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said, ''The cardinal sin of the UPA Government lies in compromising the internal security for vote bank politics. In Assam, I have found two more organisations - Muslim Student Association (MUSA) and Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) - working in disguise for SIMI.'' He also held the state government responsible for its ''abysmal failure'' in intelligence gathering.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit tomorrow.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi yesterday stopped short of identifying ''Huji'' as the group behind the blasts and said, ''They are simply terrorists, whether they are Huji or ULFA.'' The Special Branch IGP, Khagen Sharma, also yesterday pointed towards the ''jehadi'' elements with the ULFA, initially suspected to be the perpetrator, denying any involvement.

However, the government was not ruling out the possibility of involvement of local outfits in carrying out the blasts.

The Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) had also appealed to people to maintain calm and refrain from giving communal colour to the incidents.

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