Shillong(Meghalaya), Aug 10 : Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday said those involved in the improvised bomb attack in the state capital here ahead of Independence Day celebrations which injured two persons including a woman, will not be spared.
The 1kg remotely-timed improvised explosive device (IED), triggered by the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), went off at around 1:30 pm behind a busy market area in Laitumkhrah injuring a shopkeeper and a passer-by.
Strongly condemn the IED blast reported in Laitumkhrah earlier this afternoon that has injured two citizens. Home Minister, @LahkmenR & officials of @MeghalayaPolice have apprised me on the matter and further investigation is being carried out.
— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) August 10, 2021
The Police have registered a case and investigation is currently on to nab those involved in carrying out the blast .
At least two persons, including a woman, were injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast by insurgents, which went off behind a busy market place in the state capital here on Tuesday, police said.
In an email to news-organisations, the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council has claimed responsibility for the blast ahead of Independence Day celebration.
A shopkeeper, Christine Nongkynrih, an a passer-by who could not be immediqtely identified were injured in the blast and were rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment. The 1kg IED, fitted with a timer, went off at around 1.30pm. Eyewitnesses said the blast was powerful enough to cause vibrations in nearby buildings and had caused temporary traffic jams in the area.
“During preliminary investigation, it is confirmed that the blast was due to the IED. The IED punctured the wall of the shop and shattered several window panes of adjacent buildings,” East Khasi Hills district SP S Nongtynger told PTI.
He said a case was registered at the Laitumkhrah Police Station and investigation is on in the IED blast that could be heard from as far as New Shillong Township. Nongtynger rushed to the spot along with bomb squad teams and officials of other agencies both of the state and central government to take stock of the situation.
The SP urged citizens not to panic but to report to the police any sighting of abandoned or suspected items. Local MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh also rushed to the spot to re-assure people of the area that steps would be taken to ensure their security. HNLC general secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw expressed regret that a woman was injured in the incident although the bomb was placed away from crowded areas.
The outfit warned it would plant a bigger bomb targeting ‘outsiders’ and urged people of the state not to participate in the Independence Day celebration next Sunday. Last month, the outfit had carried out another IED attack near quarters of the Reserve Police in East Jaintia Hills district. Earlier this year, HNLC had also carried out an attack inside a cement plant in the district. Three persons had been arrested then in connection with the blast.
On Tuesday evening at a press briefing Sangma warned, “Those involved in the IED blast in Shillong will not be spared. Those who are a threat to peace will be punished.” On his social media handles, he said, ‘Strongly condemn the IED blast reported in Laitumkhrah earlier this afternoon that has injured two citizens. Home Minister, @LahkmenR & officials of @MeghalayaPolice have apprised me on the matter and further investigation is being carried out.’ Local MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh also condemned the incident. ‘I condemn this terrible act of violence which has injured two civilians in the heart of Shillong. The use of violence can never be justified and @MeghalayaPolice must investigate the incident & arrest those who are responsible for this,’ she said.
Once a dreaded armed group in Meghalaya and active in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, the organisation which is reputed to have a base camp in Bangladesh, was banned as an ‘unlawful organisation’ by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2019 on grounds that ‘the outfit is yet to abjure violence’.
The HNLC, a breakaway faction of the earlier Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (1993) primarily operates in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, and has carried out a number of attacks in the past. It claims it wishes to “free” people from alleged domination by “outsiders”.
Last month the rebel outfit carried out an attack at a police reserve barracks in East Jaintia Hills district headquarters injuring a policeman and damaging buildings. Three persons were later arrested.
A year ago, the outfit had carried out a blast at a cement plant in the same district while in 2015, the rebel outfit had carried out an IED attack in the Jhalupara area of the city. No one was injured.
Although tripartite peace negotiation is ongoing with the rebel outfit, the Meghalaya government has maintained that the outfit has to abstain from violence if it wants to negotiate peace.
With Bureau & PTI inputs