IED in packet for Pune NGO head explodes in Ahmednagar; 2 harm

PUNE: Two employees of a courier firm were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) in a packet meant for delivery to Sanjay Nahar, head of Pune-based NGO ‘Sarhad’ which works for displaced Kashmiri students, exploded in the firm’s office at Maliwada in the Bhingar cantonment area of Ahmednagar, about 120km from here, around 9.45pm on Tuesday.
Nahar, who has been involved in various social and peace-keeping initiatives to bring J&K youth into the national mainstream, told TOI on Wednesday, “The ‘parcel bomb’ could be an attempt to dissuade me from carrying out my work. I won’t stop though. I have received anonymous threats in the past too asking for restraint in my work.”

‘Sarhad’ runs an academic institution for displaced Kashmiri students in Pune. The institution has nearly 150 students, several of them from the troubled areas of the Valley.

Ahmednagar police and military intelligence officials described the IED as a low-intensity device that appeared to contain ammonium nitrate and other chemicals. The device had a circuit which would trigger a blast the moment it was handled by anyone, police said.

The two employees, (37) and (26), sustained injuries on their chest, hands and legs. They were taken to hospital where one of them was discharged after treatment. The condition of the other man was reported to be out of danger.

Ahmednagar superintendent of police told TOI over the phone, “The packet landed in the courier office around 3.30pm for delivery to Pune. Around 8.30pm, Kshirsagar was busy sorting different packets for delivery when this packet, which was wrapped in violet-coloured designed gelatin paper, slipped out of his hand and fell on the floor, creating an unusual sound. Something fell out of the packet. The two employees opened the packet to find an FM radio unit and a letter.”

Sharma said, “The letter, purportedly written by a woman student from Nahar’s academic institution, expressed gratitude towards him for all the help he had rendered and stated that she had recorded her voice in the radio unit which had no battery but could be heard after plugging it into an electricity point. Kshirsagar then put the charging pin of the radio unit into an electricity point in the office and soon an explosion occurred, injuring him and Bhujbal, who was standing nearby.”

Sharma cited preliminary investigations and said, “The packet was sent from the Maliwada area of Bhingar cantonment on Tuesday. We have got CCTV footage, collected from an establishment near the courier office, which shows an unidentified person carrying a black bag and entering the office. We have prepared a sketch of this man on the basis of the footage and have circulated it in the city.”

Sharma said, “The state forensic officials have collected samples from the courier office. We expect to get their report in the next few days. For now, we can only say that the IED contained some explosives.”

The police said the letter that came with the packet was written in Hindi. While the letter-writer claimed to be a student from Nahar’s institution, the police believe it was an attempt to mislead the investigations.

In Pune, a military intelligence unit asked Nahar about his activities and what his suspicions could be regarding the packet.

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