Police are probing the involvement of foreign nationals in running a bomb-making factory in Hazaribagh where explosions killed a bomb maker and injured two others on April 17, the day 30 shops were set ablaze in communal clashes triggered by a Ram Navami procession passing through a Muslim-dominated area.
It is suspected that five people were killed in the accidental explosions in Muslim-dominated Habibnagar but locals buried four bodies secretly.
“We are investigating the crude bomb factory explosion from many angles that include involvement of foreign elements. We are not sure how many people were killed in the accident,” said SN Pradhan, state additional director general of police (operations).
“We have reports of one death. If we come across evidence that four other people were killed in the explosions and their bodies buried clandestinely, police will seek court’s permission to exhume the bodies,” Hazaribagh superintendent of police Akhilesh Jha told reporters on Wednesday.
Special branch sources said Bangladeshi migrants were training locals in Hazaribagh in making crude bombs. “At present, all reports are in the realm of speculation,” said Pradhan. Curfew was clamped in Hazaribagh after communal clashes on April 17 and additional forces were deployed to prevent flare-ups.
Sources said Md Iftekhar, who was injured in the explosion and undergoing treatment at the Hazaribagh sadar hospital, took police to the bomb factory from where 10 petrol bombs and chemicals used in making explosives were seized.
Iftekhar, the sources said, told police that four other bomb makers were killed in the explosion and their bodies were buried secretly.
Jha said, “17 people have been arrested in connection with communal clashes and explosions. We are probing their antecedents. The picture will be clear soon.”