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Alipurduar, Nov. 30: The Brahmaputra Mail was minutes away when army personnel patrolling the tracks found an explosive device fitted underneath a culvert this morning.

Railway sources said the army team spotted the explosives at Rangangaon, about 3 km from Srirampur station on the state’s border with Assam, at 5.40 am. The area is under Alipurduar division of Northeast Frontier Railway and within the jurisdiction of Kokrajhar police.

Train services were suspended for almost seven hours after the detection. The railway stopped all trains immediately as the army rung the alarm.

The Tinsukia-bound Brahmaputra Mail was pulling into Srirampur station when the device was detected. The train was held back barely 3 km from the culvert that was fitted with heavy explosives. The police said a remote-controlled bomb was in place, powered by a pack of batteries.

The police and the army did not reveal the nature of explosives the device contained, but said it could have caused a major disaster.

“The army discovered a powerful explosive device and we had to suspend trains from 5.45 am,” confirmed .A. Patil, the railway’s divisional commercial manager. He said normal services were resumed on that track from 12.50 pm.

The police suspect that the explosives were planted by militants of the National Democratic Front of Boroland. Assam police and army units have launched a combing operation in the area.

All major trains to and from Assam — Dadar Express, Kamrup Express and Bangalore Express — were delayed. The Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express was detained at Fakiragram.

Kokrajhar superintendent of police B.. Rami Shetty said over phone: “The explosives weighed more than a kilogram, but I cannot say what material they were. The army defused it.”

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