Employees at a shopping mall look following a grenade attack outside their mall in Gauhati, India, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. A grenade lobbed from a motorcycle at a police checkpoint in the heart of the northeastern Indian city injured 10 people on Wednesday in an attack immediately claimed by a separatist leader. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
GAUHATI, India (AP) — A grenade lobbed from a motorcycle at a police checkpoint in the heart of a northeastern Indian city injured 10 people on Wednesday in an attack immediately claimed by a separatist leader.
The blast happened as police checked vehicles at a barrier in front of a busy shopping mall in Gauhati, the capital of the state of Assam, according to Gauhati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar.
Paresh Baruah, the exiled leader of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) rebel group, which has been fighting for independence from India for decades, called local TV stations to claim the attack, recordings of which were later broadcast on local TV news.
The condition of the injured, including two paramilitary troopers, was not immediately clear.
India's northeast region 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. Explosions caused by rebels are common, though Wednesday's attack was the first such incident in about two years.
Assam security forces were already on high alert, Kumar said, after the Islamic State group-claimed coordinated suicide bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter that killed more than 250 people, and because of a possible threat from a so-called affiliate of the withered caliphate across the porous border in Bangladesh.
This version corrects that claim for the attack was broadcast on local TV news, not announced by Gauhati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar.