Severe blast destroys Bihar madrasa, imam found dead
PATNA A high-intensity explosion ripped through a madrasa (seminary) in Bihar’s Banka district on Tuesday morning, killing an imam (religious teacher) and damaging other houses in the locality, police said.
According to superintendent of police (Banka) Arvind Kumar Gupta, the blast took place around 8am at the complex situated in Nautolia locality, pulling down a major portion of the seminary.
“The compound’s front portion comprises the madrasa. It was locked from outside. There is a pathway inside which leads to the mosque, the gates of which were found open. The explosion has caused extensive damage to the seminary building,” Gupta told news agency PTI.
A preliminary probe suggested the presence of gunpowder or explosives at the site of the explosion, said Shresthan Kumar, assistant director of the Forensic Sciences Laboratory at Bhagalpur.
The madrasa, which had close to 200 students, was shut on May 5 due to the Covid-induced lockdown. The deceased, identified as Mohammad Abdul Sattar Mobin, was from Jharkhand‘s Madhupur district and resided at the seminary as a caretaker.
Not a single person, including the imam of the mosque could be traced when a police party reached the spot, added Gupta.
Mobin’s body was recovered just outside Navtolia locality. Preliminary investigations revealed that the injured imam died on the way to the hospital, following which his aides abandoned the body in the car and fled, said police.
The explosion was so powerful that people staying one kilometre away could hear the sound, said Bibi Rukhsana, who lives in the neighbourhood.
Deputy inspector general (Bhagalpur range) Sujeet Kumar said a team of forensic experts and a dog squad are examining the site of explosion to ascertain the cause of the blast. Officials familiar with the developments in the Bihar Police headquarters said the investigating officers will also probe a terror angle.