GUWAHATI: An object, suspected to be an improvised explosive device (IED), was today recovered from a Silchar-bound parcel baggage in Guwahati railway station.
A home guard on duty at the Railway Mail Service (RMS) area behind platform number one, heard something tick from the parcel baggage around 9.45 am and immediately informed the Government Railway Police, a GRP official told PTI.
The GRP then informed the local police who arrived at the spot with bomb disposal squad for removing the baggage to an isolated place, the official said.
Several passengers were at the station as trains in and out of Assam were cancelled due to floods and damage of railway tracks in Bihar and West Bengal, he said.
Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay said it was not immediately known if the parcel contained a bomb.
"We will have to first detect if it is a bomb. Only after that will the question of who is involved will come up," the DGP said.
Asked why there was no CCTV in the RMS area, Sahay said, "That only the railway authority can comment on. It is good to have CCTV but nevertheless, a security personnel detected it."
Later in the night, the Assam Police in a press release said, "Enquiry is still going on regarding the existence or otherwise of any explosive materials in the parcel. Assam Police headquarters requests all public in general not to be swayed by any misinformation in this regard."
"It is hereby clarified that a parcel containing some materials was found at Guwahati Railway Station, from where ticking sound of a clock was detected.
"The Bomb Disposal Squad was pressed into operation, who took it to a safe place (Rani Firing Range) with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and trailer," the release said.
"Since the object was still having the ticking sound, the bomb disposal squad for the safety and security of public in general decided to defuse the suspected parcel by blasting it in the safe place," the release by the Assam Police said.
However, Police Commissioner of Guwahati Hiren Nath has claimed that preliminary investigations have revealed that the object was not an explosive devise of mass destruction but most likely an agriculture spraying machine fitted with an on and off timer which also has similar mechanisms as explosives with timer devises have to trigger them off.
"There is no indication of a bomb and no explosives have been found... I am not aware about based on what the bomb disposal squad suspect it was an IED," Nath said.
A bomb disposal official said it was suspected to be a hand-made IED fitted with a programmable timer but without detailed investigations, it could not be immediately ascertained if it was a bomb.
The parcel sorting officials at the RMS yard said the baggage with several articles had a GPO seal marked for Silchar in south Assam's Barak Valley to be transported by a truck as railway services were suspended for the last 10 days due to floods.
The police commissioner said, "We have investigated and on checking the paper details with the Post Master General here we found that the package was sent from Maharashtra to Silchar."
"There are many students in Mizoram studying agriculture and they regularly procure such spraying machines," he said, adding, the timer device on the machine must have got started when the parcels were moved, alerting security and baggage sorting personnel at the RMS yard."
Because it was a spraying machine with an on and off timer device, bomb-like wires and circuits were recovered from the site, the police commissioner said.