Nine days after six people died in an explosion while allegedly making crude bombs in a communally charged area of Hazaribagh town, National Investigation agency (NIA) sleuths visited the site on Tuesday. According to Hazaribagh’s Supreintendent of Police (SP) Akhilesh Jha, the NIA is investigating chemicals that could have been used in the bomb-making.
The police also made their second arrest in the case on Tuesday — identified as Ejaz-ul, alias Rinku. He was one of the two men injured in the explosion on April 17, hours after communal clashes had broken out over a Ram Navami procession.
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SP Jha said the police nabbed Rinku while he was being treated for burn injuries at his in-laws’ house in Marheta, an area under Bara Bazar police’s jurisdiction.
Incidentally, with the bodies buried hurriedly and surreptitiously, the police had learnt about the incident much later — when the other injured man, Ifteshar, had gone to a local hospital for treatment.
Rinku’s arrest comes a day after the bodies of five victims were exhumed. They were buried again on Monday evening after post-mortem. The deceased have been identified as Sajid Khan (25), Mohammad Mujahid (38), Shah Nawaz (30), Muzaffar (24), Mohammad Ehsan (28) and Mohammad Ekram (28) — all residents of Habibinagar.
While four bodies were buried in the local graveyard, Mujahid’s body was found in a forest nearly two kilometres away. Ekram’s body was found in the septic tank of his house in Habibinagar two days after the blast.
“The blast occurred in a newly constructed house, close to the old Khirgaon graveyard. By that time, we had managed to control the violence and was trying to restore order. Nobody came to us with information about the blast. Some people obviously knew, but the incident was kept under wraps,” said DIG Upendra Prasad.
“When we tried to cross-check information about the burials, the graveyard committee told us that the last burial had taken place on April 15,” said Prasad.
“We were unaware that the bodies had been buried. But as the stench in the graveyard increased, a meeting was held with the administration, where we told them that we wanted the bodies to be taken for post-mortem and then buried with proper rites,” said Yasin Ansari, a member of the graveyard committee.
Ehsan’s father Jain-ul-Abidin said: “My son lived with his in-laws. I live in Habibinagar. I was unaware of what had occurred. On April 16, he told me he was returning to his in-laws’ house. I came to know about his death from the media on April 19.”
Mujahid’s brother Mumtaj said: “My brother told me on April 17 that he was going with Ekram. When he did not return that night, we became anxious. Curfew had been imposed. We came to know about a blast. We reached the spot at night and brought him home. We did not take him to a doctor due to the curfew”
“Physically, there were at least eight to nine persons at the spot. Who helped them with material or other things are a matter of investigation. Also, some people ensured that the incident remained under wraps,” said DIG Prasad.