A bomb was found at a busy shopping complex near a mosque in Malegaon on Wednesday, sparking fresh panic in this textile town where 31 people were killed in four blasts last week.
Authorities cordoned off the area around the shopping complex near the Mohammedia Madrasa Centre and mosque, and summoned a National Security Guard (NSG) bomb squad to defuse the device that was inside an unclaimed red box found in a staircase.
A large contingent of the Rapid Action Force was deployed in the vicinity. Police and religious leaders made announcements on the public address system, calling for calm as people ran in fear out of the shopping complex.
Police said the law and order situation in the town is under control but the "anxiety level" among people had gone up. The RAF had been deployed to address these fears, they said.
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officials said an explosive device had been found but the nature of the bomb would be known only after the NSG experts dismantled it.
Police kept people away from the shopping complex while the media too were advised to stay out. Residents were asked to switch off cellphones to rule out the possibility of remote detonation of any explosive device.
The box with the bomb was taken to a nearby school ground where the experts worked to defuse the device.
Thirty-one people were killed and nearly 300 injured in four blasts outside a mosque, a graveyard and at the Mushaira Chowk on Friday.