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Blasts in Kalimpong and Darjeeling: police suspect Nepali Maoists' hand

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 21 August 2017, 20:28 IST
(PTI photo)

Two days ago, a grenade attack near Kalimpong police station led to the death of a civic volunteer.

According to the police, CCTV footage has revealed that the attack was carried out by six men, hitherto unidentified, who had hidden their faces in cloth and entered the police station at 10.05 pm.

But now, it has emerged that there were actually two attacks, after the first one failed due to the iron grill guarding the police station. As a result, a second attempt was made around midnight on Saturday.

The police say according to the footage, two of the men were clearly the ones responsible for the attacks, and they are currently searching for these men.

Nepalese connection suspected

Sources in the state CID say the grenades were improvised devices made of nitroglycerine, and that such devices were usually used by Maoists.

They also suspect that a timer had been adjusted with the grenade, and the first grenade was exploded at 10.08 pm on Saturday.

A day before this blast, there had been an IED explosion around midnight at Chowk Bazaar in Darjeeling. A remote-sensing detonator was used in that blast too.

Now, the CID suspects that Nepali Maoists may be involved in both events. These men could've crossed over from Nepal into Sikkim, and come down to the North Bengal hills from there.

A senior official of state CID said: “We are now investigating the brain behind the attacks in Kalimpong and Darjeeling. As high intensity explosives were used in both the places, we suspect that the attackers have received training in grenade attacks as well as IED blasts, and they had specific targets.”

Political reactions

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, who has been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for the Darjeeling blast, has demanded NIA investigation into both the Darjeeling and Kalimpong attacks.

Meanwhile, the state BJP, which is yet to take a stand on the Gorkhaland unrest, blamed the state government for its intelligence failure. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said: “We demand a CBI inquiry or NIA investigation into the blasts that occurred at Darjeeling and Kalimpong. People do not have faith in the state police. Moreover, the state government is yet to resolve the Darjeeling impasse.”

Gautam Deb, minister in charge of the North Bengal Development Department, said: “We have already ordered a high level meeting in this regard, and the probe is still on . It is too early to comment anything in this regard.”

First published: 21 August 2017, 20:28 IST