A powerful explosive on the route of Bharatiya Janata Party leader L. K. Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra was found near Tirumangalam in Madurai district on Friday. The explosive, packed in an eight-foot-long pipe, was found under a causeway across the Kounda river at Alampatti on the Tenkasi highway.
A resident of Alampatti, M. Selvaraj, who had gone to the riverbed early in the morning grew suspicious on finding a length of wire concealed under grass. He immediately alerted the local panchayat union ward member, who, in turn, informed the police.
A bomb disposal and detection squad, which was undertaking a routine check of the yatra route, was alerted. It reached the riverbed immediately and found a wire running to a length of about 50 metres. It was concealed by grass and a saree. A 12-volt battery was found under a nearby palmyra tree. The explosive, packed in four packets, was found under the causeway in a cleavage under a vent. The pipe was in two parts, with an empty section. The police said that an explosive substance, referred to as Power Gel 90, was used to pack the pipe. The gel is said to belong to a nitrate family used for industrial purpose.
The yatra route was originally planned along this highway. From Madurai, it should have taken the Tirumangalam-Srivilliputtur-Rajapalayam route to reach Tirunelveli district. Instead, it was diverted through Virudhunagar and Sivakasi to reach Srivilliputtur. Explosive experts are studying the gel to find out its exact nature.
The police are looking at different angles as this is the first time an explosive has been placed on the convoy route of a VIP.