‘We weren’t warned about blasts’

The scene of the blasted building and adjoining residences resembles a mini-war zone. What was once a mud-and-wood bakery unit is now just piles of rubble; mud and jagged pieces of wood, with bags of flour smashed into the dust serving as steps to navigate the debris. It is clear that this was an enormous explosion. “RDX was used,” says a local surveying the damage, “and then they sent in bulldozers too.”
Everyone stresses there was no warning before the blast, and it was of such an intensity that several surrounding houses have suffered serious damage – ripped off doors and windows, window panes shattered into slivers, cracks in walls, and tin roofs blown off. A piece of a tin roof, in fact, had been blown atop a rather tall tree around 20 metres away from the actual blast site. The claim that there was no ‘fierce’ encounter seems to be borne out by the total absence of bullet marks or holes in all the walls and houses.
It seems, simply, a miracle that no one was hurt or even killed, given the damage the blasting of the ‘suspected’ structure caused. The owner of the bakery unit says that his workers, some of whom had left for the day, were asked to leave the building. The army, locals say, searched every house in the area before triggering the blast. “I guess just the loss of the baking provisions, the machinery — like something I had imported for the baking process and a generator – would amount to a loss of Rs 8 lakh. And that’s apart from the residence,” the bakery owner says. The residents of the other damaged houses too point resignedly at the chaos and debris. There is no talk of compensation yet.
At least seven other houses have been damaged badly, including that of Ghulam Muhammad Sofi, Razzaq Sofi, Nazir Sofi, Amhad Sofi, Ali Sofi, Lassa Wagay and Muhammad Ashraf Wagay.