The country's tryst with terror continued for the fifth straight day as 18 live bombs were found in Surat on Tuesday. All of them were defused, but the bombs did a part of what they were meant to do — spread fear and panic among the people.
The diamond city remained on tenterhooks throughout the day as schools suspended classes and traders downed shutters — and there was a prayer on everyone’s lips.
It’s been four days now since three cities — Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat — were targets of as-yet unidentified terrorists. More than 50 are dead, 55 bombs were planted, of which 30 exploded.
On Sunday, two car bombs were recovered in Surat.
The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) found on Tuesday were all planted in and around Varacha, in street corners and crowded market places, one of them even hanging from a tree.
Varacha is where most of the diamond-polishing units of the city — nearly 80 per cent of the world’s diamonds are polished in Surat — are located. They bore striking similarities with the ones that had been used in the serial blasts at Bangalore last Friday, in Jaipur in May and in Hyderabad last year.
“We have found 18 bombs and defused all of them,” Surat Police Commissioner R.M.S. Brar told reporters. They have all been sent to the Gandhinagar Forensic Science Laboratory for examination.
From their preliminary investigations, forensic experts told HT that while the composition of the IEDs and the way they were assembled in a C-shaped casing — containing ammonium nitrate, petroleum jelly and ball bearings — was the same as that of the bombs which exploded in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Hyderabad, the trigger mechanism used was of the kind employed in the bombs which went off at seven places in Bangalore last Friday.
The experts were not clear about when the devices had been timed to explode, and whether they had failed to do so. “Whether there was a malfunction in the device or whether they were never intended to explode, is difficult to say,” said one of them. “We will have to analyse each of the circuits and decode their electric coding before coming to a conclusion.”
Panic in Kolkata
An email sent to media houses, purportedly by SIMI, set off panic in Kolkata on Tuesday, as it threatened to blast various landmarks of the city, including the High Court building, the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital and the Nicco amusement park.
The computer from which the mail had been sent was tracked down soon. Kaushik Bose, a resident of Salt Lake, has been detained.