Guwahati/Jorhat, Feb. 26: The timely detection of a bomb planted close to the boundary wall of IOC’s Guwahati Refinery averted possible loss of life and damage to property while two policemen were injured when a suspected Ulfa militant lobbed a grenade in Jorhat today.
A sniffer dog squad of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) detected the improvised explosive device (IED) around 7 this morning during a normal security drill, following which they raised an alarm.
The explosives in a tin can, a detonator and some fuse wires were found inside a bag just outside the refinery’s boundary wall, about 100 metres from the main gate at Noonmati, 50 metres from the crowded Noonmati market and about 10 metres from Noonmati Lower Primary School.
Personnel from Noonmati police station, which is just 200 metres from the site, cordoned off the area and called in the bomb squad. The bomb squad took an hour to reach the spot and defused the bomb around 10.30am.
“If the bomb had exploded, it would have killed many people and caused extensive damage,” a member of the bomb squad said, while showing the explosives which contained ammonium nitrate and ball bearings.
The detection of the bomb created quite a sensation in the area, which has been the target of such attacks in the past as well. Superintendent of police (operations) Ranjan Bhuyan, who visited the spot, said a probe was on to identify the people who had planted the bomb.
The refineries in the state have always been considered prime targets of militants, who have struck a number of times at these vital installations.
In another incident, an Ulfa militant lobbed a grenade at a police team at Kenduguri bypass area in Jorhat in the wee hours, wounding two security personnel.
The police said a team of four security personnel — two policemen and two homeguards — who were on patrolling duty on the bypass, accosted a youth who was riding a bicycle around 4.30 this morning. When the police team asked him to stop, he tried to flee.
“One of our men, constable Keshab Gogoi, chased him and managed to catch him. They grappled for several minutes. When another policeman, homeguard Bolin Sonowal, arrived on the scene, the youth whipped out a grenade and lobbed it at him,” a police official said. Both Gogoi and Sonowal were injured.
But before the militant could get away, Gogoi managed to snatch a bag containing a bottle grenade and 28 rounds of live ammunition of AK-47 rifle from the bicycle the cadre was riding. The police suspect the youth, about 28 years of age, was carrying an AK-47 rifle, which was tied to his bicycle.
Four persons — Pankaj Bora, Ranjit Dutta, Mintu Bora and Arpan Jyoti Lahon — have been picked up for questioning.
The twin incidents occurred despite claims of the state machinery of violence being on a low in Assam.