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Gandhi Jayanti, the Oct. 2 holiday celebrating Mohandas Gandhi's birthday, saw a string of coordinated terror attacks in India's isolated and conflicted northeast, a resource-rich but impoverished region connected to the rest of the country only by a narrow corridor between Bhutan and Bangladesh. The attacks--five in the state of Assam and two in neighboring Nagaland--left at least 50 dead, overwhelmingly civilians.

Both states are home to a profusion of ethnic-based guerilla armies which oppose Indian rule in the region. Authorities blamed the Assam attacks on Bodo ethnic guerillas, but refrained from assigning blame in the Nagaland blasts. A ceasefire with Naga guerillas has been in place for over ten years. Local press reports suggest "ultra" factions within the guerilla forces are attempting to sabotage recent peace moves and plunge the entire region into war.

At least 30 were killed and over 50 injured as twin explosions tore through Nagaland's commercial hub of Dimapur. One of the explosions went off in the railway station as hundreds of passengers were waiting for a delayed morning train. The other blast occurred simultaneously at a nearby market, where police later found a third device. The death toll is likely to go up, with many of the injured battling for life in Dimapur hospitals. The toll would have been much higher if the train hadn't been delayed, and if the third blast had gone off, India's Statesman newspaper reported. India's Statesman newspaper reported.

Later in the day, presumed guerillas of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) struck at various places in Assam, killing 21 and injuring 48, mostly civilians. Eleven were killed when gunmen opened fire on a market in Dhubri, then fled into the jungle, India's Sify news service reported.

The attacks came just days after Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi offered a ceasefire to both the NDFB and United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) if the groups agreed to shun violence and come forward for talks. The ULFA was accused in a bomb attack on an Indian Independence Day parade in the Assam town of Dhemaji Aug. 15, that left 15 dead.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio warned that the attacks threatened the ceasefire in his state. ''Such incidents would only vitiate the atmosphere of peace in Nagaland,'' he said. But Indian Express said he ruled out the involvement of any Naga group in the attacks. This was the first major explosion in any public place in Nagaland in over a decade. Even during the five decades of Naga insurgency, Nagaland had never witnessed such major explosions. Naga rebel leaders have recently broached brokering talks to extend the ceasefire to Assam.

(Indian Express, Oct. 3)


South Asia Terrorism Portal (anti-terrorist think-tank) page on the NDFB

See also WW3 REPORT #102

(Bill Weinberg)

Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Oct. 4, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

Reprinting permissible with attribution.