Saturday, April 5, 2008

Siliguri blast foiled Maoist attack plan, say police

Kolkata, April 4 The explosion that claimed three lives in Siliguri on Thursday actually foiled an underground organisation’s plan to trigger serial blasts in parts of North Bengal and Bhutan, according to the Siliguri police.

Officers said those killed were members of the organisation, backed by Nepal Maoists, and that they were working on the bombs to be used in the blasts when a powerful timer device went off accidentally.

The police arrested the fourth member of the group when he was trying to get back to Nepal on Thursday night. The police had laid a trap at Panitanki — the gateway to Nepal about 35 km from Siliguri town. The man had sustained burns in the blast.

During interrogation, he said he had come from a refugee camp in Nepal that sheltered a large number of Nepali-speaking people who had earlier been ousted from Bhutan. “Bhutan refuses to take them back and most of them are still sheltered in the refugee camps with aids from the United Nations Human Rights Council,” an officer said. Bhutan has been hit by frequent blasts in recent times.

The three others who died in the explosion had also come from different refugee camps. The four had taken a house on rent in Siliguri, the police said.

Four SIM cards were recovered from the house. Three of them had been bought from Kolkata while the fourth one was bought in Nepal. The call details indicated that the accused were in close touch with the political leadership both in Darjeeling and Sikkim. The police said more arrests were likely.

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