HYDERABAD: Four bombs planted at the Guddu railway tracks passing through Sehrish Nagar went off on Monday afternoon, damaging the up and down tracks. Nearby residents heard two explosions at around 1:20 pm, before the arrival of any train, after which the police and the Bomb Disposal Squad cordoned off the area.
BDS (Hyderabad) incharge Saleem Wastro said that four homemade timed bombs — each packed with around two-and-a-half pounds of highly explosive material — were used. The BDS team collected splinters and officials from intelligence agencies also examined the site.
The police found a pamphlet at the scene, bearing a message from the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army (SDLA), in which its chief commander Darya Khan claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, all railway traffic along the up and down tracks at the Hyderabad and Kotri railway stations was suspended as the Pakistan Railways engineering wing started repairing the damaged tracks. According to the railway administration, the blasts damaged a four-and-a-half-foot portion of the down track 14 kilometres away and a four-foot eight-inch portion of the up track 15 kilometres away from the Guddu railway track No 176. No trains were damaged. The Pakistan Railways engineers took two hours to repair the tracks, after which they were opened for traffic.
The police had been receiving warnings of explosions for the past one year, said DPO Hyderabad Muneer Ahmed Shaikh, who constituted an inquiry team – comprising SP City Sahibzada Bilal Umer and SP Investigations (Hyderabad) Ghulam Nabi Keerio – to probe the matter and submit a report at the earliest.
Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza also demanded a report from the RPO Hyderabad and gave orders for the arrests. Security must be provided to witnesses, said Mirza, who also ordered sketches to be made.
The case must be investigated and — based on “strong evidence” — the culprits can be punished, said Mirza.
The home minister asked the police to improve their security system and ensure an exchange of intelligence reports so that action could be taken.
Mirza also ordered tighter security at public places, buildings, residences and offices of foreigners.
Rail tracks attacked in the past
Incidents of bombs being planted at railway tracks were reported across the province earlier in the year, the most recent on July 13, when the BDS had found and defused four bombs — each packed with two kilogrammes worth explosives — planted on the up and down railway tracks one kilometre away from the Derolal station near the Bahadur Khoso area in Matiari.
Similarly, on June 25, two explosions had taken place on the up and down tracks near the Ghotki station while two bombs also went off on the tracks near Nawabshah. These explosions had damaged the sleepers and the plates. Another bomb had exploded earlier in the year on the railway tracks near the Nara Canal near Kandhra, Rohri. On the same day, two bombs were planted on the tracks near Sakhan, Karachi — out of which one had exploded while the other had been defused. Meanwhile two bombs, each weighing seven kilogrammes, were planted on the tracks near Sehrish Nagar, Hyderabad.
In all these incidents, the SDLA had left pamphlets on the scene, mentioning the “atrocities” being carried out against Sindh and promising to continue their “struggle” till Sindh was granted “freedom”.
With additional input from APP/PPI
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2010.