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Crude bombs found in Maitree's path: Indian official PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 April 2008


Some crude bombs have been found on a rail track through which the Dhaka-Kolkata Maitree Express will start rolling on Monday, Indian officials said.

The bombs were found between Ranaghat and Gede railway stations, north of Kolkata, late on Sunday evening, the officials said. Bangladesh rail officials were unaware of the "bomb discovery".

"The bombs are crude and are meant to scare, but we are taking no chances," said Dilip Mitra, inspector-general of Railways Safety in Kolkata. Trains between India and Bangladesh are being resumed after 42 years, after they were stopped during the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

Indian Intelligence blamed the Nikhil Banga Nagarik Sangha (All Bengal Citizens Group), an organisation of Hindu refugees from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in planting the bombs.

The group has close links with the Hindu fundamentalist Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS. The Sangha has opposed the "friendship express" and called upon their supporters to disrupt it.

"Why should democratic and secular India seek to develop such intimate links with Islamic Bangladesh…?" the Sangha's general secretary Subhas Chakrabarti said in a statement this week.

Intelligence officials say Chakrabarti's followers have mobilised a few hundred supporters between Ranaghat and Gede, which is the last station on the Indian side. "They may try to block the trains, but we are prepared to foil their designs," said Dilip Mitra.

He said security has been tightened "as in airports". The bombs were found in a bush about eight feet away from the Maitree Express track near Bankimnagar station on Ranaghat-Gede line, said the Press Trust of India quoting railway sources.

GRP personnel defused the bombs, put in a jute sack, after being tipped off by local police and stepped up vigil along the route, PTI said. There is a possibility that local gangs could have dumped bombs but security agencies were taking the matter seriously to find out if any disruptive forces were at work, since Maoists had presence in Nadia district, according to the Indian news agency.

"We have not received information about any recovery of crude bombs," ATKM Ismail, additional secretary of the communications ministry in Dhaka, told Sunday.

Ismail was the chief negotiator for the launch of Maitree Express. Qazi Asadullah, additional director general (operations) of Bangladesh Railway, said he was also unaware of the bomb discovery.

The two trains will leave Kolkata and Dhaka simultaneously on Monday morning amid much festivity. There was much excitement on both sides of the border and hundreds of Bangalees are boarding them to visit their ancestral homelands.

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