Over 800 crude bombs, 15 illegal firearms and 150 live cartridges were recovered across the state in the last one week.

 

New Delhi: The West Bengal police in the last one week have recovered more than 800 live country-made bombs, more than 15 illegal fire arms and over 150 live cartridges from different parts of the state during a special drive conducted by all police districts in the state.
This has come after the Chief Minister of Bengal Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Rampurhat last week, where she was seen issuing a diktat to the State Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Malviya to conduct special drive across the state to recover illegal arms and ammunition stored in different parts of the state.
Since then, the West Bengal police has been running around to recover as many weapons and crude bombs possible from the state. Bombs are being recovered aplenty from the different districts of the state every day, sometimes from public toilets, sometimes from bus stations, and many times from nearby agricultural fields, ponds and under construction houses and some even from factories.
According to news reports, more than 500 live crude bombs have been recovered alone from the district of Birbhum in the last one week, where the horrific incident of nine people being burnt and bombed to death was reported on 21 March as part of the “revenge” killing allegedly by an armed faction of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Just a day after Mamata Banerjee’s diktat to the state police on 24 March, a large consignment of live and country-made bombs were recovered on 25 March by the Rampurhat police from an area which is a stone’s throw away from the Bogtui village in Birbhum district, where 10 houses were burnt and bombed. In the Rampurhat police’s first recovery, they recovered five buckets containing 40 crude bombs stored at the backside on an under-construction house.
These consignments of 40 bombs were recovered from Margram which is just about five km from Bogtui village in Birbhum. The day after, 200 live crude bombs were recovered from a nearby agricultural field in the same Bogtui village. These bombs were stored in large drums and safely put under small shrubs and some near the ponds. On 27 March, another consignment of 50 crude bombs was recovered once again from Birbhum’s Sikandar village.
Soon after this, reports of bombs being recovered from all parts of the state started to pour in. From North 24 Pargana’s Bhatpara, Jagaddal and Bijpur, 24 live bombs and a large consignment of arms and ammunitions were recovered. Bhatpara and its adjoining areas of Barrackpore and Jaggadal have been in the news constantly for criminal activities that involves hurling of bombs and murders.
Even from the far off and notorious districts of Murshidabad and Malda, more than 100 crude bombs were recovered in the last one week. From the Burdwan districts over 45 crude bombs were recovered. On Tuesday, in Keshpur, Paschim Medinipur district police recovered some 100 crude bombs stored in buckers and hidden inside an abandoned house. From South 24 Pargana district’s Bhangar, 25 live bombs were recovered, while from the same district’s Canning-Kankradaho area, five other live bombs were recovered. On 29 March, a bomb blast in South 24 Parganas’ Basanti rocked the state police. The explosion took place in Boria village under Phoolmalancha panchayat, in Basanti Police Station area and scorched the residence of Mofizzuddin Sarkar.
According to police sources, the explosion took place when the residents of the house were busy shifting their stockpile of country made bombs to a “safe house” so that these bombs can evade from the police raid. Following this incident, the Basanti TMC MLA, Shaymal Mondal was seen appealing on social media to the people of his constituency to surrender all bombs, arms and ammunition to the police at the earliest.
In the video message he was seen saying, “With folded hands, I request to all the people of the 13-14 anchaals (blocks) of Basanti to surrender all their illegal arms and ammunition to the police within the next 72 hours. Do not take keep any illegal, pistols, revolver, bullets, bombs, gunpowder or any illegal items and give it up to the police. Do not take law into your own hands, come back to the mainstream and the government will support you.”
On Wednesday evening, the Durgapur police recovered 50 live crude bombs from a factory in Durgapur’s Raturia-industrial area and the bombs were defused on Thursday evening after the bomb squad arrived. Not only this, huge consignments of arms and ammunition are also being recovered from various parts of the state. So far, the police have been able to recover some 15 illegal guns which include country made guns, pistols, pipe guns and even single barrel and double barrel guns. Sources in the Bengal police that this correspondent spoke said that the number of bombs being recovered as to the number of bombs there in Bengal is much more. The police sources also said that this order by the Chief Minister also comes as a respite for them as they can now catch such criminals who were earlier being given shelter by the TMC party cadres.
“We all knew that bombs and guns are aplenty in Bengal, but our hands were tied. Despite knowing we could do only little. What you are saying is nothing, 800 is just a very small figure compared to the actual number of bombs and guns that are there in Bengal. We knew the notorious characters, but they are all party cadres (TMC), we cannot touch them and, therefore, we were also helpless,” a police officer from Bengal told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity.

Bombs recovered from different parts of Birbhum district.

Sources in the police have also said that people in Bengal stockpile their bombs and guns which are used mostly during election or when there are clashes within the party or with their opposition party. “In the rural areas of Bengal, bombs are a common thing. These are made in their own homes. They get the supply of raw materials from neighbouring Jharkhand and Bihar. Even cracker factories of Bengal supply raw material to the bomb makers. Just during this recently concluded municipal election, thousands of bombs and hundreds of guns were sold and most of the buyers are political persons. During election season, the rates of these bombs also go high. We cannot take action against them,” another police officer from Bengal told this correspondent.
These bombs can cost somewhere between Rs 150 to Rs 500 per piece, depending upon the quality and the quantity ordered. These bombs are made using gunpowder procured from firecracker factories and by people trained either by fire cracker factories or through their generation. These bombs have sharp nails, glass pieces, nuts and bolts amongst other things to inflict maximum injury.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to the state DGP Manoj Malviya and state ADG Law and Order Jaweed Shamim through email and telephone, seeking their response on the recovery and on why the police did not act so far and only started to act after the Chief Minister’s order. But, neither the email nor the phone calls elicited any response till the time of going to the press.
However, opposition parties in Bengal have attacked the ruling TMC for harbouring the bomb and gun culture in Bengal for this long and have said that this is just the tip of an iceberg and that Bengal is sitting on a mountain of bombs. “Your number of 800 is too little, Bengal has more than 8,000 bombs. Your figure is just a tip of the iceberg. As we have been saying for very long, Bengal is sitting on a mountain of bombs, waiting to explode any moment. If all the bombs from Bengal can be recovered, it will have the potential to blast an entire country, leave alone the state,” BJP chief spokesperson, Shamik Bhattacharya, told The Sunday Guardian.

Bombs found in a pit in Murshidabad district.

He further added, “What the West Bengal police is doing now, they should have done years before. Mamata Banerjee, by instructing the police to act now, is just doing an eye wash to cover up her internal party feud. Bengal needs freedom from bombs and the gun culture.”
The Trinamool Congress has been saying that the Chief Minister has taken up a noble cause of cleaning up Bengal. Senior TMC leader and senior spokesperson Om Prakash Mishra told The Sunday Guardian, “A strong political will against violence and bomb culture is on display in Bengal. The Chief Minister is determined to ensure compliance and success on this front. Political fortunes of BJP have slided in the past about a year. Drawing on the support of their national leadership and by attempting to build a false narrative against Bengal and leadership of the government of Bengal, the state BJP is trying to politically survive in a competition with the Left for the second slot in the state.”