| File picture of grenades found with the militants
Lucknow, July 18: Grass cutters at the Ayodhya shrine complex last evening found a grenade near Sita ki Rasoi, which lies next to the makeshift Ram temple.
The grenade, which was quickly defused, is the second one to be found on the premises in less than a week. Earlier, seven grenades had been found at the complex, apart from the 16 found in the bags of the militants who had attacked the shrine on July 5.
The grenade found last evening lying in the yellow zone ' outside the very high security red zone ' did not go off when lobbed by the militants because of a defect in the spring mechanism, according to security personnel. However, the quality of the grenade, its mark and the failure to explode became a topic of discussion among Special Task Force (STF) members.
“Thank the manufacturers of the grenades for saving the country from the bloodbath that would have followed had the militants succeeded,” said a Provincial Armed Constabulary jawan who was on duty yesterday when the grenade was found.
The militants had hurled seven grenades. Two of these exploded in the yellow zone, while four that did not explode landed in the yellow zone close to Sita ki Rasoi, which lies in the red zone. One grenade landed in the red zone but did not explode.
Sleuths said the two grenades that exploded did not have shrapnel and were meant to give out smoke. “These were exploded to create a smokescreen through which the militants could crawl forward,” said the Faizabad senior superintendent of police, Avinash Chandra.
However, some of the other grenades were marked high explosive and anti-tank. The high-explosive grenades had 300 grams of explosives and shrapnel.
“Had any of the grenades exploded inside or near the red zone, it would have blown up the makeshift temple,” said a senior officer in Faizabad.
“The fact is indisputable. The defects in the grenades saved the day for us. Of course our jawans did a splendid job. But, had the grenades exploded on July 5, it would have made the job of our jawans more difficult,” said inspector-general of police V.K. Gupta.
“China virtually saved the country from a blood bath,” said a senior STF officer.
Grenades, defence experts in Lucknow clarified, explode when the clip is loosened after the safety pin is removed. It may take a grenade three seconds to a minute to explode.
“Most of the grenades found in Ayodhya did not have their safety pin. The clips were also loosened. Yet they did not go off,” pointed out A. Srivastava, the senior superintendent of police, STF.
“There could be two explanations for this. One: these could be too old and damp. Two: the grenades’ spring structure could have become defective due to rough handling during transportation and their subsequent storage in militants’ hideouts,” said an army officer.