Series of bandhs end in blast-scarred Assam

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Guwahati, Nov 3 (UNI) With the end of another statewide bandh this afternoon, Assam is all set to return to normal tomorrow after serial blasts rocked the state on Thursday, killing 81 and injuring 800, followed by two statewide shutdowns and intermediate spontaneous bandhs.

Meanwhile, the investigations to nab the perpetrators made little headway, except releasing the sketches of two suspects based on the inputs of lawyers of the CJM court where one bomb had exploded. The IB chief also arrived in the city today.

The 11-hour All Assam Students' Union bandh ended peacefully at 1600 hours, with reports of isolated incidents of stone pelting and train blockades from across the state.

Picketers halted trains at a couple of stations in upper Assam, but the train services were soon resumed after the agitators were removed from the tracks.

AASU supporters were picked up from different parts of the state, though no major incident occurred.

The bandh had brought life to a grinding halt, with all business establishments and educational institutions remaining closed.

Few private vehicles plied on the roads and attendance at government offices was also minimal.

Compelled to shorten its 24-hour bandh call following public resentment, AASU also arranged for transportation of attendants of blasts victims in hospitals and its units were directed to ensure no violence.

Meanwhile, the government today started distribution of ex-gratia to the families of deceased with deputy commissioners of affected districts instructed to handover the state's share of Rs three lakh at the victims' residences.

The entire process would be completed in one week, including visiting the victims' houses in Nagaland and Meghalaya, state Health minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said.

The injured were handed over Rs 50,000 from the state government at the time of discharge from hospitals, with the first batch given the cheques yesterday itself.

The Central government had announced an additional Rs four lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs one lakh for the seriously injured, which would also be given soon.

UNI SG KK GL RN1739

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