At least six persons sustained injuries when a grenade exploded in front of a shopping mall and near a park in Guwahati city on Wednesday. Police said the grenade blast took place outside Guwahati Central mall located in Jonali area of the city around 8 pm. ULFA-I, the anti-talks faction led by Paresh Baruah, is learnt to have claimed responsibility for the Guwahati grenade blast.

Two motorcycle-borne men threw the grenade in front of the shopping mall located right opposite the Guwahati zoo on the arterial RG Baruah Road, PTI quoted Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar as saying.

“As per the preliminary report, six persons were injured,” he said. Local media reports, however, put the figure at eight, including two SSB constables Amulya Lal and Ramesh Lal. The others were identified as Fardin Rahman, Ahmed Kumar, Amit Khasar, Riya Khasar, Hirakjyoti Baruah and Kalyan Baishya, a report in The Sentinel said.

All the injured have been taken to hospital.

Kumar also said the suspects’ target appeared to be the security forces. “There is a police check post here and it is evident the suspects must have targeted them,” IANS quoted him as saying.

Senior police officers including Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia immediately rushed to the spot to take stock of the matter.

The blast location is adjoining the Shraddhanjali Kanan (park), usually frequented by a large number of people every evening.

Earlier in the day, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had directed the police to devise a strategy to keep tab on criminal elements in the city and and provide security to residents. Sonowal has ordered a probe into the blast and directed DGP Saikia to take appropriate and immediate action against the perpetrators of the crime.

In a tweet, the CM posted: “Strongly condemn the blast in Guwahati this evening. Have directed authorities to rush to the spot and take stock of the situation. Also directed DGP to immediately apprehend the culprits and ensure the security of common people.”