| Advani being presented with a tarpa, a tribal musical instrument, after entering Maharashtra. (PTI)
Mumbai, April 9: Bajrang Dal activists were involved in last week’s bomb blast in Maharashtra in which two people died, police have confirmed.
The incident could prove to be an embarrassment for Lal Krishna Advani whose yatra, ironically called Bharat Suraksha, entered the state today since the Bajrang Dal is an associate of the Sangh parivar.
“Bajrang Dal activists were actually making a bomb before one exploded in an activist’s house,” said a senior police officer.
The blast occurred at Path Bhandare Nagar under the jurisdiction of Bhagyanagar police station in Naded, 650 km east of Mumbai. Raj Kondawar, a retired irrigation official in whose house the explosion took place, was away with his wife at the time.
“We have seized another bomb from the same site on Saturday which has now been defused,” said another police official.
The police say five people were present when the first bomb went off: Naresh Kondewar and Himanshu Phanse with friends Maruti Wagh, Rahul Pande and Ramraj Guptewar.
“Naresh and Himanshu, who were office-bearers of the Bajrang Dal, died on the spot while the other three are admitted in the hospital in a serious condition. Wagh is still in coma,” said a police source.
State Bajrang Dal chief Shankar Gaikad denied that the dead belonged to his party.
“My local functionaries have told me that it was not a bomb explosion at all. Some crackers caught fire and resulted in the death of two and serious injuries to some others. But none of the dead was from the Bajrang Dal.”
The police sources said that such a huge explosion could not have been caused by fire-crackers.
“The blast was very powerful and only the concrete structure survived. Everything else in the house was destroyed. Both the bombs were powerful devices. The recovery of the second bomb and other preliminary investigations clearly show that people assembled in the house were preparing the bomb when the first one went off. We will know more about it only after we speak to the injured people,” said a police official.
State BJP spokesperson Vinod Tawde said: “We have heard nothing from the police so far. In any case, what does the Bajrang Dal’s involvement in this, if at all, have to do with us' We are an independent political party with an independent political agenda.”
Nanded, especially the old city, has been a communally sensitive area.