Bangalore blast: Shinde blames states for misuse of ammonium nitrate

Bangalore blast: Shinde blames states for misuse of ammonium nitrate

Days after ammonium nitrate was again used to trigger the blast near the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Bangalore on April 17, the Centre on Monday held state governments responsible for checking the misuse of the chemical.

Noting that the Ammonium Nitrate Rules 2012 has been put in place to check its illegal trafficking and stockpiling, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told the Lok Sabha that misuse of the chemical could not be stopped, unless the states law-enforcement officials kept track of it more effectively.

“We need to have tighter checks on explosives,” Shinde said in his statement in the Lok Sabha on the Malleswaram blast. He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has worked with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to put the Ammonium Nitrate Rules 2012 in place.

“Now we are working with them and the National Institute for Smart Governance to put an explosives tracking system in place. But the problems will remain till district magistrates and superintendents of police have the stocks and consumption of the licensed explosive users checked more often and more stringently,” the Home Minister told the Lok Sabha.

Ammonium Nitrate, a major ingredient of commercial explosives, was not regulated and was freely available in the country till recently. The government moved to regulate trafficking and use of the chemical, after it was used to make explosive devices in several terrorist attacks like the German Bakery blasts in Pune and Jama Masjid in Delhi in February and September 2010.

A few days after the chemical was used again in the serial explosions in Mumbai on July 13, 2011, the government notified it as an explosive under the Explosives Act, 1884.

A year later, the government notified the Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012 to regulate its manufacturing, storage, sale, use, transportation, import and export. A day after the blast near the BJP office in Bangalore left 11 policemen and five others injured, the Karnataka Police confirmed that ammonium nitrate was used to make the improvised explosive device.

In his statement, Shinde also referred to the impasse over the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), stalled due to objections from some state governments, which pointed out that the Centre’s move contradicted the principle of federalism enshrined in the Constitution.

“We also need to quickly put the NCTC in place. We have now a revised formulation of the NCTC, which takes care of the objections of the states,” he said. The home minister said the blast near the BJP office in Bangalore was being probed by the Karnataka Police, with assistance from the National Investigation Agency, National Security Guard, Intelligence Bureau and the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory.

“We also need to strengthen the intelligence set up of the States. We have been advising the states on this, but we have not seen much progress. We are trying to strengthen the humint component in our Intelligence Agencies. That will start yielding results,” Shinde said.

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