GAUHATI, India – A bomb explosion near a train station in India's northeast Thursday killed three members of one family and injured nine others, police said.
The explosion occurred at a stand for auto-rickshaw taxis outside the train station of Gauhati, the capital of the insurgency-ridden state of Assam, said T. Rabha, a railway spokesman.
A rickshaw driver, his wife and 18-month-old son were killed, while nine others were injured in the powerful explosion, police officer Rajen Singh told The Associated Press.
Auto-rickshaws are three-wheeled, open-sided motor vehicles commonly used to transport passengers in India.
The bomb went off shortly before the Rajdhani Express from New Delhi to Gauhati was to enter the station, Rabha said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but Singh blamed the United Liberation Front of Asom or ULFA — a separatist outfit that often targets government offices and public places — for the attack.
"We are convinced ... that ULFA rebels are behind the blast," Singh said.
ULFA rebels have been fighting for more than two decades for Assam's separation from the India, saying policies of the federal government in New Delhi have led to exploitation of the region's resources while bringing little benefit to local residents.
Rebels have stepped up violence after the Indian Government called off peace talks and a temporary truce on Sept. 24 and resumed a military offensive against the group.
The talks collapsed as the government refused to concede the rebels' demand to release five of their top detained leaders. Since then, at least 23 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in violence blamed on the rebels.
"The ULFA appears desperate to prove its strength and force the government to initiate talks (on) their terms," said D.N. Bezboruah, an analyst based in Gauhati.
The group was named a suspect for a train bombing in neighboring West Bengal state earlier this week. That explosion left 7 people dead and 53 others wounded.
On Nov.5, 16 civilians were killed and up to 50 others wounded in a twin bomb explosion in Gauhati.