PM and Sonia visit Assam; No headway in investigation

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Guwahati, Nov 1 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today talked tough and warned terrorists against trying to destabilise the country, even as the investigators were still groping in the dark over Thursday's serial blasts in Assam.

Shocked people of the state stayed indoors, responding to a statewide bandh call given by the Sangh Parivar as Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi went around an empty Guwahati.

'' There can be no compromise on the national security aspect,'' Dr Singh told reporters here after winding up his three-hour-long visit to this blast-ravaged state, which he represents in the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh announced an ex-gratia of Rs four lakh each to the victims.

At least 77 people were killed and over 400 injured in nine synchronised blasts - three each at Guwahati and Kokrajhar, two at Barpeta Road and one at Bongaigaon - on Thursday.

''Those responsible for this dastardly act will be traced and meted out exemplary punishment, '' Dr Singh said but refused to comment on reports of possible links of militants, based in Bangladesh, carrying out the blasts.

'' We will look at all the clues. It will not be proper to comment now,'' he said.

But the investigation agencies of both Centre and State were yet to make much headway on Thursday's blasts in lower Assam except some general statement that the attacks might be a joint operation of HujI and ULFA.

What had been confirmed by the state police that all the bombs of Guwahati and Barepeta Road were kept in cars.

ULFA today once again denied its involvement.''Neither will we ever touch general civilians nor shall we have any alliance with Huji. These are typical propaganda of the Congress protecting the actual terrorists, '' said astatement.

Assam Police IGP (Law and order) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta told newsmen that the investigating team had tracked original owners of some of the vehicles, used in the blasts.

''It has been found out that in each of the cases either the vehicles were sold off long time back or stolen. But as a precautionary measure we have picked up some of the owners,'' he said adding that so far four persons had been arrested.


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