Towards the end of the last decade, trains, buses and vital bridges were the main targets of Bodo militants. And 10 years later, events have come full circle. When members of the Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT), a recent addition to the ever-increasing ranks of insurgent groups, set off an improvised explosive device (IED) to blast the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district on December 30, memories of the troubled mid-and late ’80s were instantly revived.
Consider this. Apart from the blast on the train, which killed at least 50 people, Bodo militants blew up a vital road bridge on National Highway 31, 12 hours before detonating the bomb underneath the train, in their efforts to snap links with the rest of the country. In less than 48 hours, another railway bridge, this one on a metre-gauge track leading to the interiors of Arunachal Pradesh, was damaged in another blast. The rail link on the north bank of the Brahmaputra is crucial from the army’s point of view since it connects the bases which guard the border with China.