Ahead of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee's visit to Tripura, a suspicious bag was found at the Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) airport in Agartala, airport authorities said on Monday. However, no explosive material was found and the airport was cordoned off.
A bomb squad and airport security were rushed to the spot.
"A suspicious bag has been found in Agartala Airport at around 9:45 am. Someone has left the bag on the site which led to suspicion that it could contain explosives. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) team has cordoned off the whole premises and entry-exit routes have been modified. The disposal team is at work and the airport Director shall brief the press shortly," MBB airport manager Jempu Hoakip told ANI.
According to an East Mojo report, while the dog squad reported negative for explosives, the EVD (Explosive Vapour Detector) machines reported the presence of explosives. This was enough to engage the Bomb Threat Assessment Committee (BTAC), even as the CCTV footage placed ownership of the bag with an arrival passenger from Kolkata.
“The BTAC declared it as a non-specific threat and procedures, as per SOPs, were carried out. For the safety of the passengers, the suspected bag was shifted to the cooling pit and will be kept there for 24 hours. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to trace the passenger who left the hand baggage,” an airport official said.
Meanwhile, speaking with reporters upon his arrival, Banerjee said the “jungle raj in Tripura has reached the final stage” and that there is nothing left to say about law and order now.
The Tripura Police had denied permission to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and All India Trinamool Congress for organising roadshows or rallies in Agartala on Monday. However, permission for street corner meetings was granted to both parties.
Tensions in Tripura have increased after violent incidents in the run-up to the elections to the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and 12 other municipal bodies slated for 25 November.
With input from agencies