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Assam shuts down, toll rises to 77

October 31, 2008 13:57 IST

A total shut down was observed on Friday in blast-hit Kokrajhar on a call given by VHP and the BJP while schools and educational institutions remained closed in Guwahati in the wake of serial explosions that rocked Assam. The toll, meanwhile, has gone up to 77.

Only a few shops in the city were opened and vehicular traffic was thin as most people kept indoors.

Twenty-one people lost their lives in Kokrajhar in the serial blasts.

BJP leader L K Advani, who arrived here this morning, visited the blast site near the Deputy Commissioner's office where he faced a group of angry lawyers who shouted slogans 'Advani go back'.

He also visited the Guwahati Medical College Hospital and met the injured in the blast.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who is scheduled to arrive later in the day, will visit Kokrajhar and Barpeta. He will also hold a high-level meeting at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in the evening.

A team of NSG experts from New Delhi also visited the blast sites at Ganeshguri, the deputy commissioner's office and Fancy Bazaar.

Meanwhile, all examinations scheduled under Guwahati University and State Education Board of Assam (SEBA) have been cancelled till further directive.

Attendance in the offices was thin and in many areas shops and business establishments, particularly those in and around the blast site remained closed. Few public transport were seen plying on the roads in the morning.

Opposition Asom Gana Parishad is observing a 'Black Day' with all its leaders and cadres sporting black badges.

Lawyers of both Gauhati High Court and Sessions Court in Guwahati abstained from work and held protests outside the court premises.

The toll in the serial blasts in Assam rose to 77 today with 11 more people succumbing to their injuries overnight.

Principal Secretary (Home) and official spokesman Subhas Das said eight people died in Guwahati, which now alone accounts for 41 deaths.

Three others succumbed to their injuries in Barpeta taking the toll there to 15. The number of deaths in Kokrajhar remained at 21, he said.

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