TURA, Jan 9 - Williamnagar town in East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya was rocked by a powerful IED blast injuring nine people, three of them critically. The incident happened at about 12:50 pm today. The target of the blast was a wine store which was badly damaged in the blast.
Amongst the nine injured was a woman and a minor. The critically injured ones have been rushed to Tura Civil Hospital.
Police suspect the hand of outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and its area commander Ajan Momin alias Jimmy. However, the Achik Matgrik Army (AMA) has claimed responsibility for the blast.
In a post on social media site Facebook, the AMA Ampati area commander John Lesly Sangma stated that the blast was against sale of liquor and cigarettes to minors.
�We had given time to stop the sale of alcohol to children until the end of last year. The Warimong Wine Store is not the only one and there are others that will be targeted�, said the online post.
The police immediately evacuated the market area and have launched a search. A massive operation with Special Weapon And Tactics (SWAT) commandos has also been initiated in the area.
�Police will intensify counter insurgency operations in the coming days to flush out GNLA militants from this area�, a senior police official said.
Legislator from Williamnagar and Social Welfare Minister Deborah Marak has condemned the incident. She will visit Williamnagar town tomorrow to take stock of the situation.
�At a time when we thought that the New Year will usher in hope for renewed peace in Garo Hills, the incident comes as a blot on the peace loving people of Garo Hills. I strongly condemn the incident�, said Marak.