Powerful explosive device detected at Howrah station

Kolkata, Feb 11 (IANS) Alert railway hawkers prevented a tragedy at the Howrah station Thursday when they informed police about an unattended bag with wires protruding lying on a platform. Police after defusing the explosive said had it gone off it would have caused massive damages and grievous injuries.

Some railways hawkers felt suspicious when they found a blue bag with a small can inside lying unattended for a long time on Platform No 2. Some wires were dangling out and a jerry can of petrol was also kept close to the bag.

After police was alerted, the bomb disposal squad came and safely defused the device on the banks of the nearby Hooghly river.

‘It was around 1 p.m. when I saw the bag with a can inside. I immediately alerted the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel,’ said Chandan Shaw, a railway hawker.

Additional Director General of Police (Railways) Dilip Mitra told IANS: ‘They were very powerful Improvised Explosive Devices.’

‘Had it gone off, there would have been twin explosions and massive damages. While the shrapnels and pellets would have caused grievous injuries, the petrol would have developed into a fireball,’ Mitra said.

When the bomb squad personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and sniffer dogs were rushed in, the area was cordoned off and the platform emptied of people.

Train movement from Platform 2 was suspended, and shifted to other platforms.

When the sniffer dogs confirmed the presence of explosives, the bag was put into a trolley covered on all sides with sand and slowly taken out of the station by car to the riverbank and defused.

An Eastern Railway spokesman said security arrangements have been strengthened at Howrah, Sealdah and other stations. The RPF personnel have been advised to keep vigil at different stations.

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