Four soldiers injured in Punjab explosion

According to defence officials, the injured soldiers were immediately moved to a nearby hospital for treatment. Three were discharged after first aid but one soldier was referred to a hospital in Jalandhar city.

"Four of our jawans were injured in the explosion. Three were discharged from the hospital after first aid whereas Sepoy F.D. Khan was referred to a hospital in Jalandhar for better treatment. Khan sustained injuries on his jaw and he was facing difficulty in speaking," Lt. Col. Vinod Bhat, officer commanding 202 (bomb disposal unit), who was leading this operation, told reporters here.

The operation to defuse munitions, called 'Operation Saiyam' (patience), was started by the army Nov 10 last year to destroy around 17,000 munitions of unknown origin.

The blast took place when one of the soldiers was carrying an explosive towards the dumping area where it was to be demolished with other munitions.

"The blast took place while he was carrying it in his hand. The jawans are being treated," an army source said.

Authorities had discovered the dangerous scrap at the dry port in Punjab's industrial hub Ludhiana, 110 km from Chandigarh, in 2004 but it took them nearly six years to start the process of destroying it.

The demolition operation, the biggest one of its kind undertaken by the army, was to be completed in three months.

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