Friday, August 26, 2005

West Bengal : Twin blasts shatter year-long silence

- Bomb kills brain behind anti-Naxalite group, cops worry over use of new types of detonators

Additional superintendent of police SK Jha collects evidence from the blast site near Kashiabera village. Picture by Srinivas

Ghurabandha, Aug. 26: After a lull of almost a year in the extremist-infested Ghatshila subdivisional area, Ghurabandha police station area was today rocked by two successive explosions.

In one of the explosions that occurred at Khariabandh jungle close to Kashiabera village in Ghurabandha, a 32-year-old man was killed.

The deceased was identified as Gururam Murmu, a resident of Kashiabera village.

He was also one of the men who got together to form the anti-rebel outfit Nagrik Surakshya Samiti.

But what emerged as a source of worry after the twin blasts is that the explosions were caused by bombs not previously used by Naxalites here.

Pressure-release bombs are something being used for the first time in the rebel-infested region of Singhbhum.

According to the police, the use of the new type of bomb seemed to be a tactical step taken by the Maoist rebels.

According to sources, at about 3.30 am, an explosion took place on the Kashiabera-Khariabandh road, triggering panic among the villagers.

The blast blew up a culvert on the road and before residents of Kashiabera and the adjacent village could assess the damage, another bomb went off in the Khariabandh jungle exactly at 6.30 am.

The second explosion was so powerful that the tremors were felt at Ghurabandha police station area.

The blast that took place near a shaal tree created a 3-foot deep crater at the site. Such was the effect of the blast that parts of Murmu’s body were found scattered within a radius of 100 metres.

Atop the tree, a red flag fluttered in the wind and on the ground Naxalite literature lay strewn.

A senior police officer, on conditions of anonymity, claimed the first bomb was detonated to attract the police to the troubled spot and the second was meant to blow up the policemen, but it exploded before any police party reached the spot.

“The pressure-release bomb is so sophisticated that it blows up if anyone even picks it up. The villager, Guruaram, might have taken the bomb in his hand out of curiosity and it went off,” told the police officer.

Selga Murmu, the elder sister of the deceased, told The Telegraph that her brother wanted to go to the field for ploughing and had woken up early in the morning.

“But at around 5.30 am, a youth from the neighbouring village came to him and took him along. The next hour, we heard the explosion and a little after that came the news that Guruaram was killed,” said the tribal woman.

Senior NSS leader Shailendra Baske said the deceased was the brain behind the formation of the anti-rebel outfit and hence was an obvious target of the Naxalites.

Senior police officers, including the superintendent of police, East Singhbhum, Ashish Batra visited the spot later in the day.

Additional superintendent of police S.K. Jha led a team of commandos to scan the area and succeeded in recovering two unexploded pressure-release bombs from the Kashiabera-Khariabandh road in the evening.

Asked about the motive of the blasts, Jha said the police are yet to find out whether the second blast was accidental or meant to kill Gururaram.

“We are trying to scan every possible angle that could lead to the death of the villager. He could have been targeted by the rebels for opposing their might, but there are also chances that the blast was triggered off with some other motive,” said Jha.

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