Security scare ahead of BJP meet

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A low-intensity bomb kept in a box attached to a bicycle that was tethered to the grill compound of Sree Ram temple at Anna Nagar, Madurai, went off early Tuesday morning, causing a security scare, ahead of next week’s BJP state conference to be attended by top BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani.

None was injured and there wasn’t any damage to any property. The explosion occurred around 3 am near the Gupta Auditorium, housing the Ram temple.

“The motive seemed to create a scare ahead of Advani’s visit to the city for the BJP meet, scheduled for May 10 and 11,” police said.

The explosion was also to create scare during the ongoing annual Chithirai festival of the famous Meenakshi Amman temple, police added.

It may be recalled that a crude pipe bomb, kept under a bridge across Gownda river at Alampatti village, near Thirumangalam in Madurai was recovered hours before Advani’s Jan Chetna yatra was scheduled to cross the bridge last October .

The bomb blast incident on Tuesday was reported by a watchman Mookiah of an adjacent building. Police after conducting preliminary investigations, secured the bicycle, the box and the devices apparently used to trigger the blast. No arrests have been made so far.

The incident occurred within less than 24 hours of Sanjay Mathur taking charge as Madurai police commissioner.

A temple priest who stays within the temple complex and whose entrance is barely about three feet away from the blast scene escaped possible injuries as he had gone to another place to solemnize a marriage last night and returned on Tuesday morning at about 5 am.

“I was told about the blast by Mookiah. Later, I saw the police take away four batteries, wires, four timers and some threads, apart from the box and the bicycle,” said Dev Sharma, the 32-year-old priest, who hails from Mathura.

He added, “On Thursday (April 26) till about 10.30 pm, I did not notice any bicycle at the spot. But the next day morning, it was there. Immediately, I told the watchman about it. I was told he informed the policemen who patrol the area the next day (Saturday).

Mookiah then went on leave Sunday and came back Monday. In fact, he was planning to lodge a written complaint with the police on Monday after seeing the bicycle still there.”

He said though the bicycle was old, the box was new and well-chained to the grill and locked. He said the blast could have been intense had it not rained for the past four days.

“The rain water probably dampened the explosives kept in the box.”

A case has been registered at the Anna police station and investigations are on.

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