At least nine people died in a powerful blast at an illegal firecracker factory in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Sunday, August 27. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was demanding an NIA enquiry into the incident but it was turned down by the Calcutta hight court.
The explosion on Sunday comes amid allegations that the illegal firecracker units serve as crude bomb-making factories. It is alleged that the crude bombs end up in the hands of politicians and their supporters.
The impact of the blast in Duttapukur area was so massive that a body was flung into the courtyard of a nearby house. This comes amid allegations that
The headless body was recovered from the courtyard of a neighbouring house and the head was recovered from a pond, police said. One severed hand and two fingers were also found in the surrounding areas of the blast site, according to news agency PTI.
The owner of the illegal firecracker factory and his son were also killed in the blast.
The business partner of the factory owner has been arrested and charged under the Explosives Act and IPC.
BJP’S DEMAND FOR NIA PROBE
The BJP demanded an NIA enquiry into the blast.
Leader of the Opposition and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari wondered why the administration was yet to take action against illegal firecracker units.
“Several similar incidents of blasts at illegal firecracker factories took place last year. Several people, including children, have died. These factories were later found to be manufacturing crude bombs. This bomb-making industry is flourishing in Bengal because of the nexus of the TMC goons and the police,” Adhikari said.
BJP members also staged a walkout in the Bengal assembly on Monday, and visited the Duttapukur blast site.
But in a set back for the BJP, Chief justice of Calcutta High Court dismissed its petition seeking an NIA probe into the blast, calling it “premature”.
The Chief Justice observed that the state government was investigating the matter and it was premature of the writ petitioner to ask for an NIA enquiry at this moment. The matter was dismissed by the high court.
MAMATA BLAMES POLICE
As the toll rose to nine on Monday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused a section of the police force of being hand in glove with certain people involved in illegal activities.
“It has come to my notice lately that the police are not taking action against some illegal activities. Not all of them are a part of this, as many police officers are very hardworking. The majority of police personnel are doing their duty with utmost sincerity, but few are helping such people,” Mamata Banerjee said at a rally in Kolkata.
She also asked people to manufacture green firecrackers.
“What is the problem in manufacturing green firecrackers? The profit might be a bit less, but it is safer and environment-friendly,” Mamata Banerjee said.
LACK OF SAFETY MEASURES
A probe into the blast revealed that there was a lack of safety measures at the firecracker factory.
A CID officer said explosive materials were stored in a godown that was functioning in the garb of a storehouse for potatoes and onions.
“Several chemicals and explosive powder have been found inside the godown. We suspect they are Ammonium Nitrate and Potassium Chlorate. The materials have been sent for chemical testing,” he said.
Locals alleged that despite complaining to the police regarding the illegal firecracker unit earlier, no action was taken.
Inputs from PTI, Suryagni Roy