Hubballi: Exposing the loopholes in the security system at Hubballi railway station, an unclaimed parcel with the name of Kolhapur political leader, Prakashrao Abitkar reportedly written on it, exploded leaving a food vendor who tried to open it, injured on Monday.
The incident also exposed the casual approach in dealing with such situations with a police officer alleging that Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel had acted irresponsibly in asking the food vendor to open the unclaimed box without taking any precautionary measures.
What's more interesting is that there is disagreement between the railway authorities and the Hubballi-Dharwad police on who is responsible for the investigation into the blast!
Following the explosion, Hubballi-Dharwad police commissioner, R Dilip said a high alert had been sounded at the airport and communally and politically sensitive places in the district besides nearby railway stations.
The blast, described as low intensity by the police, caused panic among passengers at the railway station, which is a major junction and the headquarters of the South Western Railway Zone. The glass of a nearby room was shattered in the explosion, but there were no more injuries.
Hussain Saab (22), who supplies biryani and other food to railway passengers, reportedly tried to open the parcel that arrived on the Vijayawada-Hubballi Amaravathi Express Monday morning, on the instructions of Railway Protection Police (RPF) personnel who became suspicious on seeing the unclaimed parcel. He was injured and has been admitted to the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences. The police, who have not found any improvised explosive device at the site, said the explosion appeared to have been triggered by a device used to scare away animals from farm lands. Other boxes found along with it have been buried in an open ground near the railway station, with proper protection, for investigation, official sources said.
Sniffer dog and a bomb disposal squads rushed to the station following the blast. Senior officers, including railway SP M.B. Boralingaiah, and experts are expected to arrive from Bengaluru.
While the railways claimed the police should be investigating the blast as it is a law and order matter, a senior police officer of Hubballi-Dharwad contended that the blast should be probed by the railway authorities as it had occurred inside the station. "The blast does not come under the jurisdiction of Hubballi-Dharwad police. We are already overburdened with other cases and have limited staff," a senior police officer told Deccan Chronicle.
Claiming that the local police had only offered its assistance after disposing of the explosives at the platform, he said it was not fair to shift the investigation to the cops. Alleging that there could be a political conspiracy behind the blast as the parcel carried the name of a Maharashtra political leader, he claimed the RPF had mishandled the situation....