The Machkhowa vegetable market. File picture
Dec. 3: City police carried out search operations at the Machkhowa vegetable market today for explosives that could have been smuggled in by militants inside vegetable baskets.
The operation, conducted early in the morning, comes a day after a bomb threat forced the closure of the Ganesh Mandir in Ganeshguri.
A police official said the search operation was carried out as a part of the stepped-up security measures taken by the police in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and the October 30 serial blasts in the state.
Anti-sabotage checks were carried out at the wholesale vegetable market today, as the area has witnessed several bomb attacks in the past couple of years. The operation was carried out after we received intelligence inputs which warned that militants may try to sneak in explosives by concealing them inside vegetable baskets, he added.
A large number of vehicles, including trucks, carrying vegetables and fruits from different parts of lower and central Assam come to Machkhowa every morning and the possibility of militants smuggling explosives inside vegetable baskets cannot be ruled out.
The police are constantly on high alert since the October 30 blasts as they have been getting intelligence inputs about the possibility of another major strike in the city by militants and fundamentalists.
As the anti-sabotage squad of the police launched its search, rumours of bombs in the market triggered panic among people buying vegetables and fruits as the city is already on the edge following the serial blasts.
Eyewitnesses said some people fled from the market when the police began the search despite assurances by policemen that the people could carry on with their normal activities.
The police official said they did not find anything suspicious. The search was a precautionary measure and similar operations will be carried out in other markets of the city to prevent any untoward incident, he added.
Mock drills will also be carried out to check the state of alertness of security forces and to check security arrangements.
Security personnel were deployed at the Ganesh Mandir, which was closed for a few hours yesterday after the bomb threat. The temple committee also stepped up vigil by engaging security guards.
Devotees, however, thronged the temple in large numbers today.
Security was also tightened at Guwahati railway station after yesterdays bomb blast at Dispur railway station.
Government Railway Police, Railway Protection Force and army personnel were deployed at the station. Metal detectors, checking of baggage and sniffer dogs were part of the security measures on the station premises.