Minor blast injures at least 4 people in India’s northeast

Indian police personnel inspect the site of an explosion near a busy market in Gauhati, India, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. A minor blast hit a busy shopping district in the capital of India's northeastern Assam state on Saturday, wounding at least four people, police said. The explosion took place near the office of a district magistrate, but it is unclear whether the official was the target, said senior police officer Harmeet Singh. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

GAUHATI, India (AP) — A minor blast hit a busy shopping district in the capital of India’s northeastern Assam state on Saturday, wounding at least four people, police said.

The explosion took place outside the office of a district magistrate, but it is unclear whether the official was the target, said senior police officer Harmeet Singh.

The wounded have been hospitalized, but their injuries were not life threatening, Singh said.

Paresh Baruah, leader of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), called local television channels on the phone and claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, fighting for independence from India, operates from hideouts along India’s border with Myanmar and China.

Police are investigating the incident.

Such blasts occur often in India’s northeast region, which is home to dozens of separatist groups that accuse the government of exploiting the area’s natural resources while doing little for the indigenous people. They stage hit-and-run attacks.

The rebels say the local population is ignored by the federal government in New Delhi.

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