WB: Crude bombs were made at firecracker unit that exploded, claim villagers

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleges that Krishnapada Bag wielded power in the area because he was associated with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC)

Crude bombs were being made at the illegal firecracker unit in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district where a powerful explosion killed nine people on Tuesday, multiple villagers including the wife of a daily worker who died in the accident said.

“My husband worked in the factory. Crude bombs were made there. He used to get 250 every day,” Suma Jana, wife of Jayanta Janata who was killed in the blast, told reporters on Wednesday.

Another villager, Shyamal Maity said the police knew about the illegal factory and the crude bombs made there but didn’t act against it because the factory owner, Krishnapada Bag alias Bhanu, was powerful. “The police knew everything. Crude bombs were made there. No one could dare speak out against Bag. He would threaten to kill anyone who used to speak out,” Maity said.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleges that Krishnapada Bag wielded power in the area because he was associated with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who handed over the probe into the blast to the criminal investigation department (CID) on Tuesday, promised strict action against Bag and distanced her party from him.

Banerjee underlined the authorities did act against Bag on October 19 last year when he was arrested and the factory sealed. But he reopened the factory after his release on bail by a local court.

The owner of the factory escaped to Odisha, she said, adding that the police are onlook out and the accused will not be spared.

The factory was run by Krishnapada Bag alias Bhanu, a local Trinamool Congress leader and a former member of the panchayat. Bhanu’s cousin Shaktipada Bag was also killed in the blast.

BJP legislator Suvendu Adhikari travelled to the village on Wednesday and demanded that the chief minister take responsibility. “The state home minister (Banerjee doubles up as the state’s home minister) is responsible for these deaths. She should step down,” Adhikari said.

He also demanded a probe by the national investigation Agency (NIA). “If there is NIA probe, the role of the police will also come out,” Adhikari told reporters. Adhikari also approached the Calcutta high court to seek a NIA probe.

A team of TMC leaders led by minister Manas Bhunia also was in the village to offer condolences to the famies of the victims. “We went to the village on the instructions of the chief minister. Some people are conspiring to trigger trouble. People have the right to shout. We didn’t get agitated,” Bhunia said, referring to a group of villagers protesting against them. “We spoke with the family members and the local administration”.

On Tuesday, villagers also heckled the inspector-in-charge of Egra police station, Mousam Chakraborty, when he reached the spot alleging that the police didn’t act against the factory owners though several incidents had taken place in the factory over the past four years. Police on Wednesday arrested two persons in this connection.

Disclaimer: This Article is auto-generated from the HT news service.