Nine 51mm mortar bombs, which were found lying near the Shahabad Markanda railway station in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district on Wednesday, disrupted rail traffic on the Delhi-Ambala route for over two hours. Railway traffic on the line was suspended from 9.30 am to 11.45 am after which the tracks were declared safe.
A senior railway official said the mortar bombs were spotted by a railway employee while he was inspecting the tracks near the station around 9.15 am. The matter was reported to the police and a bomb disposal squad, armed with detection devices and sniffer dogs, was sent from Ambala.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kurukshetra SP Simardeep Singh said, “Seven mortar bombs were found inside an olive green coloured metal ammunition box on the tracks around 9.30 am. Two more bombs were found near Shahbad Markanda’s Ranjit Singh Nagar locality.
Rail traffic on the route was halted as a precautionary measure. The mortars were removed at 10.38 am, following which the tracks between Shahabad Markanda and Dhola Majra were inspected.”
Police said an ammunition box contains 10 mortar bombs, so one bomb could still be missing. Hence, the police and army have launched a massive “sanitisation operation” near Shahbad Markanda to trace the missing mortar bombs.
“It is possible that during an army movement in the northern region, the box fell off a train. Though nine shells have been recovered, teams are combing the entire area for the one that maybe missing. Since Ambala has a major army cantonment and an Indian Air Force base, defence authorities have been called in from Ambala to verify the explosives.” added SP Singh.
A spokesperson from Army’s Western Command in Chandimandir said 51 mm mortars were used by Army as well as paramilitary forces. “It is too early to ascertain who these bombs belong to. Only a detailed inquiry will reveal that,” he said.
A case against unknown people has been registered under Explosives Substances Act at the Kurukshetra GRP station.
Notably, a 51 mm mortar bomb is an anti-personnel bomb with a range of 850 metres. It fragments upon detonation to achieve maximum damage. It is produced by Ordnance Factories in India and has a shelf life of 30 years.
‘Bomb scare’ on Kalka Shatabdi
A bomb scare on the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express on Wednesday evening led to a thorough search of the train when it halted at the Chandigarh railway station, hours after the discovery of mortar bombs on the tracks between Delhi and Ambala disrupted railway traffic on the route during the day.
The Kalka-bound Shatabdi Express (12005) was halted at Chandigarh after a phone call claimed that one of its coaches had been rigged with explosives.
The ‘warning’ was reportedly received minutes after the train, carrying nearly 1,000 passengers, departed from Ghaggar railway station at 8.25 pm. The Government Railway Police were informed about the threat immediately.
“A team of officers from the local police station with bomb-detection equipment and sniffer dogs was dispatched to assist the GRP officers,” said a senior Chandigarh police officer. ENS