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Squad not at hand, ‘bomb’ in bucket
Police officials take out the suspected explosive device from a bag in Baishnabnagar police station on Sunday. Picture by Surajit Roy

Malda, Aug. 3: Police today found a suspected improvised explosive device fitted with a timer on the bank of the Ganga in a Malda village, close to the Bengal-Jharkhand border.

The police placed the device in a bucket of water as they were unable to defuse it. The nearest bomb disposal squad is based in Siliguri and is not expected to reach Malda before tomorrow.

“We cannot say how powerful the explosive is till the bomb squad arrives,” Malda police chief Satyajit Bandyopadhyay said.

Sources said residents of Biharitola, 35km from Malda town, saw a round object wired to a small clock close to the Ganga bank around 6am and called Baishnabnagar police.

“We are talking to the villagers for leads. Biharitola is near the state border. On the other side is Jharkhand,” said the officer-in-charge of Baishnabnagar police station, Nepal Sen.

“We are trying to find out if any militant outfit is behind this,” Bandyopadhyay said.

A central intelligence agency had recently drawn the attention of Malda police to four members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) in Malda who had been to Bangladesh to attend a meeting of the outfit.

“The activities of fake-currency smugglers and members of militant groups have increased in this area recently,” P.S. Tomar, the deputy inspector-general of the BSF in the Malda sector, said.

He added that a list of cross-border operators had also been handed to the director-general of the Bangladesh Rifles.

The police have stepped up vigil at the Farakka barrage, railway stations and along tracks after the device was found.

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