The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blast on night train at Azimgunj station

Behrampore, Jan. 14: An explosion shook a bogie of the Nalhati-Azimgunj Passenger minutes after the train pulled into Azimgunj station early today, injuring two Government Railway Police constables.

Fortunately, the few passengers who arrived in the train had disembarked when the blast occurred around 1 am.

The train used to stay at the station till it left for Nalhati next morning.

The two constables, Pranab Mondol and Radhamohan Singh, were conducting a routine check of the train for unclaimed luggage and suspicious-looking objects when they chanced upon a jute bag under a seat. As Mondol tried to pull the bag out, the blast shattered the silence of the sleepy station.

Railway employees and other GRP personnel rushed to the bogie and pulled out the two constables, who were bleeding and unconscious. They were taken to the Lalbagh sub-divisional hospital from where they were shifted to the civil hospital here.

“Mondol saw the jute bag under the seat. He wanted to take it to the GRP station but as he tugged at it, there was a loud noise…I do not remember anything beyond that. When I returned to sense, my colleagues were around me,” said Singh, who sustained injuries in his leg. Mondol’s right arm was badly bruised.

A large police force led by Lalbagh circle inspector Ranjit Mondol was despatched to the station and the entire train was searched. “We have not arrested anyone in connection with the blast. We believe that whatever exploded had travelled all the way from Nalhati, near the Bengal-Bihar border in Birbhum,” said Murshidabad superintendent of police Virendra.

He added that there was increasing evidence of “subversive elements” transporting arms and explosives by train. “Days ago, the police recovered a sack full of bomb-making material from the platform at Salar station,” said Virendra.

Investigations are on to determine the nature of the material that exploded today. Sources in the district intelligence branch said it was too early to say whether what went off was a crude or sophisticated device.

Sources said gun-runners in Bihar’s Munger district found it preferable to use Nalhati as transit to avoid detection. “It has to be seen whether the bomb was meant to go off early this morning, when the train was to leave for Nalhati with a large number of passengers,” said an intelligence officer.

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