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Bicycle bomb strikes market

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  • Published 18.03.09

Alipurduar, March 18: A bicycle bomb exploded near Alipurduar’s crowded municipal supermarket this morning, killing two persons — one of them flung 50 feet away by the impact of the blast.

Sanatan Das, 27, a private tutor who also made plastic bags to supplement his income, died on the spot when the crude bomb went off at 11.30am.

“He would visit the market every day to supply the bags and purchase raw material,” said Pinku Pal, a relative.

Das is survived by his parents and younger brother.

Akhil Adhikary, 56, a land broker and a father of three, was passing by the market when the impact of the blast lifted him off his feet and threw him 50 feet away. He died in hospital.

Adhikary has left behind his wife, a daughter who is married and two sons, who run small businesses.

Fifteen persons were injured in the blast in Jalpaiguri district that caused cracks in a house 70 metres away.

“Terrorist groups must definitely be behind this powerful explosion, which occurred in the heart of the town. The style of operation was similar to Barobisha and Belakoba explosions. Terrorist groups like the KLO, Huji, or the Ulfa may have been behind this incident,” said K.L. Tamta, the inspector general of police, north Bengal.

Raj Kanojia, the inspector-general, law and order, also compared the blast to past explosions in Barobisha, 34km away, and Belakoba, about 150km from Alipurduar.

While Barobisha has been the site of five explosions in the past two years, a blast in a train in Belakoba in 2006 had killed seven persons. These blasts were also blamed on the KLO-Huji combine.

Kanojia, who was in Siliguri with home secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti to review the situation before next month’s elections, said: “We will definitely find out the group or people responsible for the act.”

Forensic experts were examining the explosives used today. A sniffer dog was brought from the Hasimara air force base and a bomb squad arrived from Siliguri.

“A room on the ground floor of my house has developed cracks and my residence is 70 metres from the spot,” businessman Debesh Moitra said.

Within half-an-hour of the blast, shops had downed shutters.

“I was busy with my customers. Suddenly, there was a deafening sound and I saw three-four persons almost being thrown into the air,” said Pradip Roy, who owns an electric goods shop in the market. “The impact was so severe that several items on the racks fell on the floor. I could feel a tremor as well.”

Some bicycles and a scooter parked in front of the market were also damaged.

Raju Saha, one of the injured, said: “I was sipping tea at a stall near the market when I heard the sound that left me unconscious for some minutes…. On regaining my senses, I found my left hand bleeding and blood trickling down my forehead. I stumbled but managed to walk up to an ambulance.”

All major blasts in north Bengal in the past two years have been in Jalpaiguri district. “We are forming an inquiry team consisting of officials from Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri,” Tamta said.