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June 22, 1999
Toll in Jalpaiguri blast rises to 10
At least 10 persons, two of them Indian Army soldiers bound for Kargil, were killed and more than 80 persons were injured when a powerful bomb, suspected to have been planted by agents of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, exploded at a railway platform in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, today.
Official sources said the two soldiers belonging to the Gorkha Regiment were identified as Diram Bahadur Gurung and J P Thapa.
Sixteen other jawans who were also heading for Kargil were injured. They have been admitted to the army base hospital at Bengdubi.
The sources said a woman was among those killed. Of the remaining injured, 45 were admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and 22 to the railway hospital in Jalpaiguri.
The condition of 25 of the injured was stated to be critical.
West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu summoned an emergency meeting of his Cabinet and senior police and administrative officers at his residence in Calcutta to review the situation.
All police stations in north Bengal have been put on alert.
The sources said the powerful bomb exploded around noon, badly damaging two second-class compartments and blowing away the roof of the platform.
The army has cordoned off the entire area.
Bomb experts have left for New Jalpaiguri station. They will determine whether RDX was used in the explosion.
The sources said the explosion was planned by ISI agents to disrupt the movement of troops to Kargil.
The ISI is very active in Siliguri and the New Jalpaiguri areas of north Bengal. The agency, which has set up a regional headquarters in Kathmandu, has been operating in Murshidabad district and the state capital, Calcutta.
The Centre has alerted all state and Union Territory authorities about the clandestine activities of the ISI in different parts of the country, particularly after the conflict in Kargil began.
The sources said Indian intelligence agencies have unearthed a Pakistani design to destabilise India through intrusion in Jammu and Kashmir and simultaneous subversive activities in different parts of the country.
Indian police have already arrested several ISI agents in different parts of the country and recovered a huge quantity of explosives, including RDX.
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