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Pre-Holi terror strike averted

Pre-Holi terror strike averted

Publication: The Times of India
Date: March 12, 2006

Introduction: Bomb defused on eve of '93 blast Annie

The tentacles of terror might be spreading to Mumbai once again. Close on the heels of the Varanasi strike, a low-intensity crude bomb was recovered from a public toilet on platform no 2 of Byculla railway station on Saturday morning.

Incidentally, the bomb was found a day before the 13th anniversary of the Mumbai serial blasts which claimed 256 lives.

Although Mumbai police commissioner A N Roy said the device was "not complete in itself" to cause an explosion on human contact, what is worrying the law enforcing agencies is the similarity of the improvised explosive device with the bombs used in the temple town.

Besides, the Intelligence Bureau had alerted the state authorities way back in December that terrorist elements from Kashmir were likely to infiltrate into Mumbai to disturb the peace.

The Railway police and the Mumbai police have started a combing operation and sounded an alert at all public places.

The Anti-Terrorist Squad received a tip-off around 9.30 am that some miscreants were likely to cause an explosion at Byculla station, following which the bomb detection and disposal squad swung into action and recovered within ten minutes a plastic bag lying on the roof of the toilet. The bag contained two kg of ammonium nitrate concealed in a plastic water bottle along with a pocket-sized transformer that could have provided the necessary current if a detonator was to be attached to the explosive device, Roy said. "This could have been part of a larger plan coming on the eve of Holi," Roy said, adding that the Varanasi bombs also contained ammonium nitrate besides RDX.

Mumbai, which has witnessed several terrorist attacks since 1993, has fortunately not seen any major strike in the last two years following the arrest of the Hanif module, which was involved in the twin blasts at Gateway and Mumbadevi.

Immediately after the bag was found, the area was cordoned off and trains were stopped for 15 minutes until the bag was transferred to Girgaum Chowpatty to be defused.

Even as the IED was being defused, the police received a call stating that a bomb had been planted at a Ganesh temple in Virar's Jeevadani complex. It later turned out to be a hoax. An unattended bag on Khadilkar road in Girgaum also caused a scare. It was later found to contain a harmless tiff in box.

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