Panic mounts in Kannur as more bombs recovered on Saturday

via Pioneer News Service | Kannur published on November 16, 2008

The sudden shift of the focus of the State police’s operations from terror-hunt into bomb-search in Kannur district has generated suspicions about the CPI(M)-led Government’s intentions even as panic mounted among the people of the area with the police recovering more and more bombs every passing day.

In addition to the 18 bombs they recovered from Cheruvanchery near Koothuparambu on Wednesday and the 125 bombs unearthed from North Poyiloor near Panur on Thursday, the police on Saturday found eleven bombs from Kolavallur early on Saturday morning. The recovy of the bombs has generated fear among the people of an imminent return of the district into the old days of murderous violence between political parties.

Seven country bombs and four explosives packed in ice-cream balls were found by the police on Saturday from the courtyard of the house of one Kunhikkanna, Kaiveli, Chittarithode, Kannur. The bombs, kept in a bucket covered with a polythene, were recovered by a police team headed by Principal Sub-Inspector Jayan Dominic. However, there was no word about the political leanings of Kunhikkannan.

The intense search for the bombs by the police, who till the last week were immersed in the hunt for terror elements in the district, had started after the death of two BJP-RSS activists at an explosion in Cheruvanchery near the politically sensitive Koothuparamba on Monday morning. The CPI(M) and the police were quick to allege that the duo had died in an accidental explosion while they were engaged in bomb-making while the BJP claimed that the two activists were removing fire-cracker cylinders kept for the festival at the nearby temple when the accident occurred.

However, the police unleashed a bomb-hunt in the aftermath of this incident allegedly forgetting all about the raids for terror operatives. Within five days, they had also been able to unearth more than 150 high-intensity freshly-made bombs. Local residents in Koothuparamba said they were not convinced of the truth behind the haul of so many bombs at such a short time.

“It is surprising that the police, who had not even scouted the place for months, had all of a sudden recovered so many bombs in such a short time. One cannot believe that the police were getting information about bomb collections at different localities so quickly,” said a local BJP leader.

The CPI(M) was quick to accuse the BJP of engaging workers in large-scale manufacturing of the explosives with the motive of creating trouble in the run-up to the Lok Sabaha election, but BJP sources rejected this theory outright. The CPI(M) leaders from Kannur, P Jayarajan and MV Jayarajan, had already said that all these bombs were made by the BJP-RSS but the Sangh Pariwar says that there is no proof of this.

Apart from the suddenness of the recovery of all these bombs, what is generating suspicion among the local people is the abrupt withdrawal of the police from their terror hunt, which had been going on intensely for the past five weeks. BJP sources said that the police had found a deviation by going after the bombs, the ownerships of which were still a matter of doubt, just when they were on the verge of establishing the role of some organisations in the terror operations in the State.

A BJP leader from Koothuparamba said that the police could have acted at the advice of Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and droped the intense hunt for extremists. “The CPI(M) in general and Kodiyeri in particular might not want the police to establish the link between the terror operations and certain Muslim organisations whom they do not want to antagonise. That is the only logic behind the diversion of the police from terror-hunt to bomb-hunt,” he said, adding that the BJP-RSS combine had not made any kind of preparations for violence after the peace meet held in March last.

At the same time, people of the district apprehended the possibility of a re-emergence of murderous violence between political parties in the context of the coming Lok Sabha elections. They say that emergence of violence during the run-up to elections was not strange in Kannur.

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