Darjeeling police recover 40 kg of explosives
The Darjeeling Police on Tuesday recovered 102 sticks of gelatin weighing around 40 kg. The gelatin sticks are believed to have been stolen from an NTPC plant.
"We had received specific inputs and had raided an area in the Sri Dwarika Tea Estate (popular as Via Tukvar Tea Estate,) around 10 to 12 km away from Darjeeling town.
There is the tea bushes in a remote corner of the garden we found the 102 gelatin sticks carefully stacked away" stated Akhilesh Chaturvedi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.
Police feel that the gelatin stick are the ones stolen from an NTPC power plant in Negi in Bijanbari, Darjeeling sub division, by GJM President Bimal Gurung's supporters during the agitation.
On 20 July 325 kg of gelatin was allegedly stolen from the NTPC plant. "The stolen gelatin consignment made its way to Bimal Gurung. He distributed it among his supporters to spread terror and to be used against the police" alleged Chaturvedi. No one was arrested in connection with Tuesday's haul.
"We will contact NTPC to find out if the gelatin seized on Tuesday match with the gelatin sticks stolen from the power plant" added the SP.
In the past also gelatin sticks have made appearances in the Hills. Police in past instances have claimed that the gelatin sticks have been used in the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that have been exploded in different parts of the Hills during the 104 day long bandh.
A high intensity blast had rocked the motor stand area in Darjeeling town on August 19. In the Darjeeling town blast an 8 feet long wire and battery had been recovered which experts believe was used as the detonator.
Traces of nitroglycerin had been found from
the Darjeeling blast site pointing to the use of gelatin sticks. Gelatin stick is an explosive material consisting of collodion-cotton (a type of nitrocellulose or gun cotton) dissolved in either nitroglycerine or nitroglycol and mixed with wood pulp and Saltpetre. It is a high intensity explosive and is used for tunneling work in the power plants.
On October 13 security forces had clashed with Gurung's supporters in Shirubari forest area in the West Bengal- Sikkim border. A Sub Inspector of Police Amitava Malik lost his life in the shootout.
A huge cache of arms (including AK 47s,) ammunition and explosives including 20 gelatin sticks were recovered by the Police from that area. Gelatin sticks were also recovered from the jungles of Pedong in Kalimpong on the same evening.
Some alleged IED manufacturing units have been unearthed in different parts of the Hills from where gelatin sticks have recovered.