NEW DELHI: Police in India have arrested seven people and seized 6kg of uranium from their possession, Indian media reported on Friday, marking the second time within a month that unauthorized personnel in the country have been found with uranium, a material crucial for nuclear production.
The incident took place in the eastern state of Jharkhand in Bokaro district, according to the reports. Uranium is a highly radioactive substance that is used in nuclear facilities,” SP Bokaro, Chandan Kumar Jha told Indian media.
Those arrested have been identified as Bapi Da also known as Bapi Chandra of Chas, Anil Singh, Jaridih, Deepak Kumar, Harla, Krishna Kant Rana, Chas, Hareram Sharma, Mahavir Mahto, Harla and Pankaj Mahto, Bokaro, the police said. All are residents of the district.
Pakistan demands probe into India’s illegal uranium trade
Pakistan has expressed serious concern and demanded an investigation into several incidents related to the illegal export and sale of uranium in India. “We have seen the reports about yet another incident of attempted illegal sale of 6kg of Uranium in India,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri in a statement on Friday. “Similar incident involving seven kilogrammes of uranium in the Indian state of Maharashtra last month and other such reports in the past are a matter of deep concern.”
“The second uranium theft has been caught in India in 30 days, it is a matter of serious concern, as it not only exposes the faulty and fragile nuclear security structure of a state, which enjoys NSG Waiver but may also pose a grave threat to international peace and security,” President of the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Sehar Kamran told TPD.
There are many questions, how a sizeable quantity of uranium was stolen and for what purpose, Kamran said. “The international nuclear safety and security institutions must carry immediate investigations on the unauthorised availability, theft and sale/purchase of uranium in India,” she said.