The Assam Government Railway Police averted a major disaster on Friday when one of its personnel detected a powerful improvised explosive device from one of the coaches of the Kanchenjunga Express. The GRP stumbled upon on the bomb during a routine check of the train, which had arrived at Guwahati from Kolkata on Friday morning.
The police informed that the bomb, which was found to be a programmable timer device with four kg explosive, splinters and three detonators stuffed in a steel container, was recovered from Seat No 22 of sleeper coach No 5 of the train. The container was inside an unattended traveller's bag. They said after the bomb was found, all 1,100 passengers inside the train were deboarded.
A bomb blanket was thrown around the bag while the train was shifted from the platform to a siding line before the Assam police's bomb squad diffused the explosive. Had the device exploded it would have caused a major tragedy, said a police official.
The railway security was in process of being tightened in the wake of intelligence inputs about subversive attempts to attack the rail route when the bomb was detected, said a senior Assam police official. Meanwhile, the Union home ministry has instructed the state government to gear up security all over the state.
An Assam police official informed that investigation was on to ascertain the culprits behind planting the bomb in the train even as the needle of suspicion pointed to anti-talks faction of certain militant groups.
The police was on alert in view of the large number of devotees flocking Guwahati from all over the country to attend the annual Ambubachi mela at the ancient Kamakhya Temple, the famous shakti shrine. A few days ago anti-talks faction of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam issued a threat to target people from other parts of the country to protest against the 'killing of locals' by the security forces in Assam in the name of counter-insurgency operations.
A senior police official said investigation would also take into consideration that the train was coming from Kolkata through the Lower Assam area. He said Guwahati has been under threat for long. Lauding the timely action of the GRP team, the Assam police called upon the public to remain alert.