The BJP Sunday called West Bengal a “safe haven” for anti-national and jihadi activities and accused the Mamata Banerjee government of destroying evidence related to an October 2 blast in Burdwan. It also claimed the state police did not hand over recovered materials from the explosion site to the NIA for a probe.
Only the explosion the BJP was talking about, which has in the past three days been blamed on IEDs and RDX, as well as Indian Mujahideen and ‘Al Jihad’, by various reports, has little to do with any of the above.
At a press conference late on Sunday evening, Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee said the blast that had resulted in the death of two and left one seriously injured was the result of crude bombs going off accidentally. “We recovered a large amount of chemicals used in bombmaking and crude bombs along with some SIM cards and phones. No IED or RDX was recovered.”
Banerjee also denied allegations that the district police had sought to destroy evidence and was not cooperating with central agencies. “The standard rule is to defuse bombs if they are recovered. The bombs were defused by the bomb disposal squad of CID following all the rules. An assistant director of the Central Forensic Laboratory was present and his team had already visited the spot. Moreover, senior officers of central agencies are in touch,” he said.
Senior police officers said they had no information of NIA being involved in the probe at all. The Home Secretary also rubbished claims of jihadi literature being found, saying all they had recovered was some literature downloaded from the Internet and some printed pages “mainly dealing with procedures of bombmaking”. “We did not find any poster related to Indian Mujahideen or any other terrorist outfit. Investigations are on,” he said.
DGP G M Reddy on Sunday formed a “composite task force” led by the DIG, CID, to investigate. Earlier in the day, police arrested two women living in the house where the bomb went off in Burdwan, about 100 km from Kolkata. Police said Razia Biwi was the wife of Shakeel Ahmed, who was killed in the blast, while Amina Biwi is married to Abdul Hakim, who sustained serious burn injuries. Soban Mondal was killed along with Shakeel. Police said Shakeel and Mondal both belonged to districts bordering Bangladesh, while Hakim belongs to Mohammadbazaar area of Birbhum district.
They had been living in the house, in the Muslim-dominated locality of Khagragarh area of Burdwan, for the past two and a half months on a rent of Rs 4,500 a month. Police said at least 55 crude bombs were recovered from the house. Ruling out any IM link as of now, police are investigating if the men were connected to Bangladeshi fundamentalist outfits.
The women, who are in their 20s, have reportedly confessed their husbands were expert bomb-makers and supplied bombs to several customers. Said Burdwan SP S Mirza, “We have not got any specific evidence which can establish any link with IM or any other Islamic terrorist outfit. We have not recovered any IED as of now either.”
Mirza added that the men had rented the house saying they wanted to open a tailoring unit. The SP as well as ADGP (Law and Order) Sivaji Ghosh denied reports of a team from the NIA visiting the area.
Said a senior police officer, “We are not worried about the literature found. If one searches houses and villages in bordering districts, such kind of literature can be found in every household. What we are concerned about is the destination of the bombs being made.”
Police also picked up Kasem Ali from Purbasthali at Burdwan, who had allegedly introduced Ahmed to the landlord of the house, Hassan Choudhury.
While the BJP and the CPM claimed Choudhury and the blast accused had links with the TMC, the ruling party rubbished the charge. “Both the CPM and BJP are trying to create unrest at a juncture when the Durga Puja festival has just ended and Eid is to be celebrated tomorrow,” TMC national general secretary Mukul Roy said.
with ENS, Delhi