New Delhi, Nov.10 : With the Government of Assam having already announced plans to enhance its security apparatus to counter terrorism in the state, the investigations into the October 30 serial bombings have taken on a new hue with evidence pointing to the involvement of the rebel National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami.
According to a report in The Hindu, two of the three Maruti 800 cars used as bombs were purchased by the NDFB less than six weeks before the attacks that claimed the lives of seventy-seven people.
Assam Police believe that orders to initiate the operation were issued by NDFB founder-chief Rajan Daimary in September in frustration at the lack of progress in talks between the NDFB and the Government of India.
The Indian Express in its report, however, places the responsibility of the terror strike at the doorstep of Bangladesh, based on a message that was intercepted by investigators on October 31.
According to the paper, the intercept suggests the main planner was in Agartala and adds to evidence the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami was behind the incident. The paper claims in its report that security agencies picked up the conversation from a mobile phone number somewhere in Bangladesh to the suspected mastermind in Agartala on October 31: "Papa bada khush hua, ab apne agle muqaam par chale jao (Father is very happy, you now move to your next destination)".
In May this year, NDFB leaders had released a charter of demands for talks with the Union government. No progress was made in talks, though, because of fears that concessions to the NDFB could complicate efforts to bring about a separate dialogue with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
Police sources told The Hindu that the ULFA appeared to have provided infrastructural support to the operation, in the form of explosives and logistical aid.
However, no hard evidence has so far emerged to support the proposition that either the NDFB or ULFA acted on behalf of Islamist terror groups such as HuJI, or Islamists within Bangladesh's external covert service, the Directorate-General of Field Intelligence.
Security agencies have, according to the Indian Express, made significant headway in the past few days, but are unwilling to reveal details because they hope to take up the matter with Bangladesh and continue the probe on that end.