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Cablegate: Six Dead As Violence Continues in Assam

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PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHCN
DE RUEHCI #0177 1500211
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300211Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL KOLKATA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1569
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1490
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 0659
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 0654
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 0285
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0425
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 0433
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU PRIORITY 0076
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0352
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDHP/DIA DHP-1 WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1932

UNCLAS KOLKATA 000177

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PHUM KCRM ASEC IN BG
SUBJECT: SIX DEAD AS VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN ASSAM

REF: Kolkata 166

1. On Sunday May 27 six persons were killed and over 25 injured
in a blast, suspected to have been triggered by the United
Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) at Athgaon in the capital
district of Guwahati in Assam. A time device planted in an
auto-rickshaw parked in a busy area went off around 10.45 a.m.
The police said an LPG cylinder being carried on a rickshaw also
burst, adding to the impact of the explosion. Five persons died
on the spot and another in hospital. The suspected ULFA is
believed to have been targeting the non-Assamese or the
Hindi-speaking people in the area. Athgaon is dominated by the
Marwari and the Hindi-speaking community.

2. The blast came a day ahead of a public rally planned in
capital city Guwahati by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi-led
coalition government to celebrate completion of its one-year
rule. Acting swiftly, the Central government rushed additional
paramilitary forces to beef up security in Assam. In a separate
incident on the same day, Government Railway Police personnel
recovered a suitcase bomb at the Kokrajhar station. The bomb
was fitted with two improvised explosive devices. Additional
Director General of Police D.K. Pathak said that a routine
checking of the train threw up the IEDs, kept in a suitcase and
concealed in a gunny bag.

3. Members of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) staged a
demonstration on the day of the blast and the Guwahati city unit
of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) observed a call a 12-hour
peaceful strike on Monday, May 28. AASU advisor Samujjal
Bhattacharya, talking to the media said that the students' body
would never tolerate such killings of innocents. He added that
the students' body had always been opposing such kind of
killings of innocents and for that members of the AASU had also
faced threats. Journalist contacts in Assam told Post that the
grieving families would never forgive the ULFA for this blast.
At the hospital a relative of one of the injured said, "I would
be too happy to co-operate with the police to apprehend the
suspects, may be I would go a bit further than that~"

4. Comment: This latest blast in Assam continues ULFA's
campaign of violence against non-Assamese. Given the security
forces' inability to effecively respond to ULFA, more such
attacks can be expected. However, the rising death toll of
innocent civilians does risk undermining what support ULFA may
have within Assam's broader community. End Comment.

JUNGE

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