The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Kerala Police on Tuesday recovered one more gelatin stick from a cashew plantation in Pathanapuram where explosives and detonators were found.
The Pathanapuram police have been combing the area since the stash was discovered by forest beat officers on patrol duty on Monday. The rain-drenched explosives were found inside a cashew plantation under the Forest Development Corporation at Padam, near the Kollam-Pathanamthitta border. Deputy Inspector General of Police Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, who visited the site on Tuesday, said the police were investigating all possible angles of the development. “A thorough search was conducted in the area with the help of the dog squad and the Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad (BDDS). As of now, we are investigating all possibilities,” said Mr. Gurudin.
The Pathanapuram police had recovered two gelatin sticks, detonators, battery and wire from the plantation. According to them, these types of explosives are usually used for blasting operations in quarries. “But currently we have no idea how the explosives ended up in the forest. We have already initiated a probe to track the manufacturers of the gelatin sticks. The area is under surveillance and we are planning to search the entire forest region in the coming days,” said Punalur Deputy Superintendent of Police Santhosh Kumar.
Though there are unconfirmed reports about the forest areas in Kollam-Pathanamthitta border being used by some extremist groups to conduct training camps and the Kerala Police receiving information regarding the same from the Tamil Nadu Q Branch, the officials said they could not find any evidence to corroborate that. “We had received such information during the Assembly elections and we verified it. We could not find any evidence of any such training going on there, but we are not totally overruling it,” said Mr. Gurudin.
NIA probe sought
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha has demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the incident alleging that the eastern hill regions of the district had the presence of extremist groups. A few months ago, the ATS, along with Military Intelligence and the NIA, had launched a probe following the recovery of foreign-make bullets from Kulathupuzha. The bullets had the initials POF (Pakistan Ordnance Factories) inscribed on them and ballistics experts had confirmed that they were not used by the Indian Armed Forces.