Shillong: Nine people were injured — three of them critically — when Garo militants triggered a bomb blast on Saturday in Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills in Meghalaya, police said.
The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militants planted the bomb at a wine store at the Williamnagar market, Meghalaya Director General of Police Rajiv Mehta told IANS.
"Nine people, including a woman, were injured. Three of them are in critical condition and have been rushed to the Tura Civil Hospital in West Garo Hills district," Mehta said.
He said police evacuated the market area and launched a search operation to look for any other explosives.
"The GNLA's attack on civilians is an act of cowardice and desperation. The GNLA has been experiencing a series of desertions in the recent past due to intense police operations," the police chief said.
Mehta said one of the perpetrators has been identified as Ajan Ch. Momin alias Jimmy, who was directed by Sohan D Shira, the self-styled military wing chief of the GNLA.
The GNLA, which claims to be fighting for a separate Garoland in western Meghalaya, is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R Sangma, who is lodged in Shillong jail after being arrested from near the India-Bangladesh border in 2012.