Blast on National Highway 10 to Sikkim
Darjeeling, August 26, 2017: An Improvised Explosive Device was exploded below a truck on Friday night. Though the Hills have been witnessing blasts regularly since August 19, this is for the first time that armed men were seen taking part in the act.
The incident occurred at 27th Mile area on the National Highway 10 connecting the plains of Siliguri in West Bengal to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
"The blast occurred at 11 pm when a truck traveling from Siliguri to Sikkim was stopped by armed men. They then asked the driver and his helper to leave and exploded an IED below the truck. We have started investigating. A CID team also visited the spot and collected samples including splinters. We have initiated a case also," stated Ajit Kumar
Yadav, Superintendent of Police, Kalimpong.
It is learnt that a police patrol party from the Reyang police outpost chanced upon the damaged truck on the NH10 on Saturday morning. The truck bearing a West Bengal number plate, was badly damaged and burnt.
Sensing something fishy the police launched a hunt for the driver. Later the driver and the helper arrived at the Riyang police outpost and narrated the incident. Mohan Chettri, the driver stated that he along with his helper were driving up to Sikkim carrying goods when
around 15 people came out of the jungle bordering the NH10 and stopped the vehicle.
They were armed with Khukuris and firearms also. They first fired at the two front tires of the truck. Then they asked the driver and Helper to walk away. When the driver and helper had walked for around 300m there was a very loud explosion. They then fled for their lives from the spot.
"An IED was placed on the road just below the driver's seat of the parked vehicle and blasted. It was a very powerful explosion. Parts of the truck has been blown away" stated a police source.
5 inch deep holes have come up on the road with some splinters found embedded in nearby trees also.
The blast comes on the heels of blasts in Darjeeling, Kalimpong police station, Sukhiapokhari police station, Lodhama and Peshok bridge. The blast at the Kalimpong police station on August 19, killed a civic police personnel and injured a Home Guard personnel.
Political observers are of the opinion that the series of blasts are being done to deter the peace talks in Kolkata between the State Government and Hill parties on August 29.
Incidentally during the ongoing indefinite bandh, on June 19 a truck was torched at Shetijhora on the National Highway 10, the link road to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim from the plains. A petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle at Kalijhora on the National Highway 10.
Aniket Chettri, the driver of the vehicle hailing from Teesta Valley was grievously injured. He was taken to Kolkata for treatment. On June 29, Aniket Chettri breathed his last.