Hill blasts aimed at waging war against State, terrorizing masses - claim police
Kalimpong, August 20: Along with waging war against the State, the objective behind the two Hill blasts was to create terror among the masses as well as to demoralize the security forces, allege the police.
A suo moto case has been initiated against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Bimal Gurung and four other front rung GJM leaders under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act along with other Acts.
As an unsteady calm settled over Kalimpong, the day after an explosion had rocked the Kalimpong police station the police went about fortifying the police station. Barricades were put up to restrict movement as vigil was stepped up.
A CID bomb squad team visited the site. Prima facie the explosion was caused by an IED on the lines of a country-made grenade. The blast was of lesser intensity than the IED used in Darjeeling Motor Stand blast.
An 8 feet long wire and battery has been recovered from the Darjeeling blast site which experts believe was used as the detonator. Traces of nitroglycerin have 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.
Police feel that large quantity of gelatin sticks stolen from a NTPC site at Negi under the Poolbazar police station were being used for the Darjeeling blast. On June 22 around 480 gelatin sticks were stolen from an NTPC project at Negi. Pieces of iron rods, metal sheets and ball bearings were used as splinters in the Darjeeling blast. The routine police patrol party was the target of the Darjeeling blast claim the police.
In the Kalimpong blast splinters which resembled cast iron shell of a hand grenade has been recovered. "We have recovered metal splinters having chequered patterns (a pattern that is similar to hand grenades)" stated Ajit Kumar Yadav, Superintendent of Police, Kalimpong.
As the explosive was lobbed and not detonated from the ground further boosts the hand grenade claim. Giving a firsthand account of the incident, a police officer stated.
"At around 10:10pm we were inside the police station while Civic Police Rakesh Rawat, Home Guard Dhendup Bhutia and SSB constable Manoj Dekka were standing on the porch near the main gate. 31 year old Rawat was speaking on his cell phone. Suddenly something came flying and hit the electric overhead wires causing a spark and dropping on the porch. Rawat had gone to see what had dropped when the explosion occurred. Everything was engulfed in acrid smoke"
It took some time for the police personnel present in the police station to realize that an explosion had occurred. Next moment all three rushed into police station profusely bleeding. They slumped on the floor.
"While trying to lift Rawat up we realized that he was no more. We then rushed Bhutia and Dekka to the Hospital from where Bhutia was referred to Siliguri. 32 year old Dekka was rushed to the military hospital with splinters having pierced his face." stated the Officer.
48 year old Bhutia is undergoing treatment at a private nursing home in Siliguri.
Rawat's deadbody was sent to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital from the Kalimpong Sadar Hospital for post mortem. "The forensic department will remove splinters from the dead body. The splinters will then be examined" stated SP Ajit Kumar Yadav.
Yadav stated that as the police station is on a elevated land with a wire mesh fencing all around the grenade fell in the compound and did not travel to the office in which case there would be more casualties.
There are many theories doing the rounds as to how the explosive was lobbed without the thrower being noticed. Some police officials feel that it could have been lobbed from any of the surrounding buildings. Some state that attackers could have come on motorbikes and lobbed it. Some even state that it could have been lobbed from a dark spot opposite the police station.
"We are analyzing CCTV footages. We have intelligence inputs that some GJM leaders and supporters have been amassing explosives. The theft of the gelatin strengthens the claims. The agitation is being given a violent twist and they are waging war against the State. The persons involved in the blasts are well trained. We are investigating to ascertain if they have links with North East Terrorist outfits or with Maoists" added the SP.
A case has been started by the police (case number 223/17/Kalimpong PS) against Bimal Gurung, Praveen Subba, Prakash Gurung, Barud Thapa and Dawa Lepcha. They have been charged under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy,) 121 (waging or attempting to wage war against the Government of India,) 121A, 122 (collecting army with intention of waging war against the Government of India,) 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code read with Sections 3, 4 of Explosive Substances Act; Sections 16, 18, 18A, 18B of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act ; Sections 8, 9, 15A, 15B of West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order and Sections 3,4 of Prevention of Destruction of Public Property Act.
We are also investigating the post arson blast at the Social Forestry guest house in Kalimpong that occurred an hour after the police station blast" added the SP. The guest house located at Warling-golai was torched an hour after the police station blast on Saturday night. Gurung used to frequent this bungalow.
Intelligence agencies are of the opinion that a hardcore splinter group is behind the blasts. They do not want any middle path settlement to the ongoing Darjeeling impasse through dialogue specially with the State Government.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha dubbing the blast as a conspiracy to derail the Gorkhaland movement and an attempt to defame the GJM, have demanded that a high-level enquiry be conducted. They have also demanded that CCTV footages be made public.
All the police stations in the Hills and contiguous areas of the plains have been put on alert. Surprise checks are being conducted in all entry and exit points the Hills, Siliguri and other areas.
Meanwhile, in Darjeeling a scuffle broke out between security forces and GJM supporters at around 11:30am at the Chowk Bazar. 36 GJM supporters were rounded up by the police but were later released.
In another development the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee held a meeting in Kalimpong on Sunday. Kalyan Dewan, Convenor stated "We are willing to sit in talks with the State Government provide there is an official invite. The State also has to create an environment conducive for talks."
They have also resolved that the indefinite bandh which started on June 15 will continue.