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Ludhiana blast burst water pipe, vital clues feared washed away

🔴 “The nature of explosives is still being ascertained as the blast caused a water pipe in the toilet to burst, washing away the explosives. Forensic teams are still working at the spot to pick up traces,” a senior security establishment officer said.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: December 25, 2021 7:31:00 am
Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju at the district court complex in Ludhiana on Friday. (Photo: Gurmeet Singh)

A day after an explosion in a Ludhiana court killed one person and injured six others, security agencies are struggling to reach a conclusion on the nature of the bomb because some clues are said to have been washed away after a water pipe burst.

“The nature of explosives is still being ascertained as the blast caused a water pipe in the toilet to burst, washing away the explosives. Forensic teams are still working at the spot to pick up traces. It might take some time but a conclusion will be arrived at soon,” a senior security establishment officer said.

Sources said investigators and forensics teams have found remains of a container, a damaged mobile phone, remains of a detonator and shrapnel from the spot. “It appears that the explosion occurred while the IED was being assembled. Assessment of the damage caused to the structure do point to use of high-grade explosive or an easily available explosive in large quantities. But until traces are forensically examined, it will be difficult to say for sure,” an officer involved with the probe said.

Sources said the nature of the blast also pointed to the fact that the intention of the perpetrators of the attack was to cause extensive damage to life and property. Determining the nature of the bomb and the make of the IEDs are likely to help investigators ascertain which groups have used such assembly in the past.

The development comes at a time when security agencies have flagged increasing activity of pro-Khalistan groups in Punjab which have been aided by regular dropping of arms, ammunition and IEDs through drones flown from across the border. In fact, in the recent past, 43 drone sightings have been reported by Punjab Police close to borders near Amritsar and Pathankot.

Punjab Police has found multiple instances of drones dropping even RDX and tiffin bombs in the past couple of years. According to the BSF, there have been over 70 drone sightings this year at Punjab and Jammu borders.

 

Intelligence agencies had also issued alerts to Punjab Police about possible attacks at crowded places and vital installations in the state by pro-Khalistan groups. Inputs had suggested these groups were armed with explosives smuggled from across the border.

The Centre Thursday dispatched teams from the National Investigation Agency and the National Security Guard to the blast spot in Ludhiana. Sources said the case may be handed over to the federal counter-terror probe agency. NIA sources, however, said no formal order had been received by the agency so far to take over the case.

The NIA has in the past one year registered seven cases of terrorism in Punjab with regard to pro-Khalistan groups such as Babbar Khalsa International and the Sikhs for Justice. In five of these cases, chargesheets have been filed. In fact, Punjab, along with Jammu and Kashmir, is one state where NIA is probing the highest number of terror cases currently.

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