A bag containing explosive materials was recovered from the Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram Vanchinad Express that arrived at the Mavelikara railway station at 7.10 a.m. on Thursday.
The police said panic spread as the passengers in the general compartment found a bag kept on a seat with wires and a suspicious packet inside. The railway police were called in and the bag was removed from the train, which then resumed its journey.
The railway police and the State police are investigating the incident.
A. Akbar, Superintendent of Police, Alappuzha, said the bag contained two detonators, two aluminium wires, each about a-metre-and-a-half long, and a stick of Neo Gel-90, a commercial explosive, which is a slurry based on ammonium nitrate, usually used for blasting and mining. The 1.25-kg stick was wrapped in brown paper that had the manufacturer's name, Amin Explosives Private Ltd., Nagpur, printed on it.
Though the police believe that the bag belongs to quarry workers who forgot to take it with them while alighting from the train, they do not rule out other possibilities since Neo Gel-90 was among the explosives used in the 2007 twin blasts in Hyderabad.
Also, in the Cheriyathura area of Thiruvananthapuram, the Crime Branch and forensic experts recovered remains of the explosive from nearly 30 spots during clashes between two communities there in May 2009.