- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

GAUHATI, INDIA (AP) - A bomb exploded in a crowded market in India’s restive northeast Monday, killing at least four people and wounding 20, police said.

Authorities suspect the separatist United Liberation Front of Asom was behind the attack, the second in less than a week to hit Gauhati, the capital of Assam state, said senior police official G.P. Singh.

Singh said the bomb was likely tied to a motorbike but that police were still investigating.

The blast came a day before the 30th anniversary of the founding of the militant group, which has been linked to many acts of terrorism in Assam and usually stages attacks around its anniversary.

The United Liberation Front of Asom wants an independent state for ethnic Assamese and is the largest of the northeast’s dozens of militant groups.

The separatists accuse the government of exploiting the area’s natural resources while doing little for the indigenous people _ most of whom are ethnically closer to Burma and China than to the rest of India.

More than 10,000 people have died in separatist violence over the past decade.

The March 31 blast in Gauhati left one dead and 13 wounded.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to visit Assam on Tuesday ahead of national elections that begin later this month. A spokeswoman for his office, Deepak Sandhu, said Singh still planned to make the trip.

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