Officials of the district intelligence bureau take out the suspected explosive device from a bag in which they carried it to the Baishnabnagar police station on Sunday before putting it in a bucket of water (right). Pictures by Surajit Roy
Malda, Aug. 3: Police recovered a suspected improvised explosive device fitted with a timer from the bank of the Ganga in Malda’s Biharitola village on the Bengal-Jharkhand border this morning.
However, the nearest bomb squad of the CID is based in Siliguri and the experts are not expected to reach Malda till tomorrow. The police have placed the device in a bucket of water, but has not been able to defuse it.
“We cannot say if it is an explosive and how powerful it may be till the bomb squad arrives,” Malda police chief Satyajit Bandyopadhyay said.
Sources said residents of Biharitola, 35km from Malda town, spotted the spherical object wired to a small clock on the edge of the village close to the riverbank around 6am. They reported the matter to the Baishnabnagar police.
“We do not know who placed the bomb there and are asking the villagers for leads. Biharitola is located on the bank of the Ganga and on the other side is Jharkhand,” said the officer-in-charge of the Baishnabnagar police station, Nepal Sen.
“We are trying to find out if any militant outfit is behind this,” the Malda police chief said.
District intelligence sources said militant outfits consider Malda to be a “safe corridor”.
“In fact, the Students Islamic Movement of India — or Simi, a banned outfit — is quite active in this area with some cells operating here,” an intelligence officer said.
A central intelligence agency had recently drawn the attention of the Malda police to four active Simi members who had even been to Bangladesh to attend a meeting of the outfit.
“The activity of fake note smugglers and members of militant groups have increased in this area recently,” the deputy inspector-general of the BSF, Malda sector, P. S. Tomor, said. He added that a list of cross-border operatives had been handed over 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 discovery of the device in Biharitola.