Pune blasts: When rain became saviour
Pune: As the investigation into Wednesday’s Pune blasts continues, forensic experts have said that forty-eight hours of rainfall could have degraded the explosive material used in the series of blasts that shook the city.
According to a report in a leading daily, the moisture in the air because of the rain reduced the intensity of the explosions, which eventually saved dozens of lives. No casualties were reported and one person was injured in the explosions that took place in a space of less than one hour in a one-km radius in the crowded Jangli Maharaj (JM) road.
A forensic expert associated with the investigation told the daily that although detonators went off, yet humidity absorbed by the explosive material prevented the bombs from exploding with greater intensity.
According to meteorological records, Pune registered 83.9 millimetres of rainfall on Wednesday and 18.1 millimetres on Tuesday with humidity hovering around over 90%.
This significant role of rain has been seen in the past as well. In April 2010, two bombs planted outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore fizzled out in identical conditions, while the third failed to detonate. Bombs planted in Bangalore in 2008 and a car bomb parked outside the Delhi High Court last summer also proved to be dud as the ammonium-nitrate based explosives had degenerated due to humidity.
Unexploded bombs found in Pune were similar to the devices used by the Indian Mujahideen (IM), sources said. According to a senior official, it would be immature to say who carried out the blasts on the basis of the bomb-type alone, because it is not difficult to fabricate such devices.
While ammonium-nitrate is classified as a low intensity explosive, it has been used to lethal effect by terrorists around the world.
Indian Mujahideen had used ANFO devices in many of its previous operations, among them the attacks on Mumbai locals in July 2006 and the German Bakery attack in Pune in February 2010.