An explosion at a workshop in Aizawl’s Durtlang locality on Friday claimed three lives and caused serious injuries to one person. The blast took place in an automobile workshop where a pickup truck carrying detonators was under repair.

The deceased have been identified as Lalhmangaihzuala (29) – the owner of the workshop, Lalmawikima (18) – his helper and Lalthafamkima (48) – the owner of the pickup truck.

While the explosion was initially believed to be the result of a cylinder blast, further investigation led police to find 900 pieces of detonator and another electronic detonator behind the driver’s seat. The investigation also led them to find the deceased driver in possession of Myanmar currencies leading the police to suspect strong links with Myanmar.

Mizoram DIG (headquarters) Lalbiakthanga Pachuau told EastMojo the police have found detonators in commercial quantity.

“On March 18, there was a massive explosion at Durtlang Mualveng along Selesih-Zuangtui road. As soon as I heard the sound of the explosion, I went to the place of occurrence. And when we check it and called the Forensic Science Laboratory staff, we found many remnants of this detonator PENT (pentaerythritol tetranitrate), which is highly explosive,” the DIG said.

Pachuau added that several such detonators not yet exploded were subsequently found in commercial quantity in the workshop carried by the pickup vehicle.

On how the blast occurred, he said, “We assumed that the pickup vehicle must have entered that particular workshop and when they were trying to do some welding work on the body of that pickup vehicle, it must have charged and exploded several such detonators.”

As a result, three person died on the spot while one is still fighting for his life in the hospital.

“For the time being, we are investigating the source of detonator and where it was going. We have a sample but it is still premature to reveal all the steps of investigation,” the DIG told EastMojo.

On suspected links of the detonators to Myanmar, the police head said, “There is indicative evidence of this connection. Of course we know the situation in Myanmar and it is possible that there is some connection but the investigation will reveal. We also seized some Burma currency, a small quantity of Myanmar currency during the course of investigation. That actual connection yet to be established. So investigation is on and all-out effort will be made to establish the actual connection.”

Pachuau also commented that security has been tightened and that Mizoram police are actively supporting the Assam Rifles to guard international borders.

“Apart from Assam Rifles personnel guarding the border, the Mizoram police are also watching the Myanmar border for several months now. Because of this recent incident of the blast at Durtlang Mual Veng, it is our routine to guard our security along international border to help Assam Rifle in guarding the international border. We are fighting against this drug menace and other smuggling activities.”

Another police officer, on the condition of anonymity, told EastMojo that they have seized a heightened number of explosives since the military coup in Myanmar. It is believed that these explosives are being transported for the military resistance factors in Myanmar.

Explosives were seized through a joint operation of Assam Rifles and the Mizoram Police on December 31, 2020 and again on February 27, 2022.

The country of Myanmar has been under the control of the military after it seized the government on February 1, 2021. According to Reuters, the Myanmar military has killed at least a thousand people and arrested thousands in a crackdown aimed at crushing local resistance to the coup.

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