Nine killed in West Bengal illegal firecracker factory blast

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News Desk

The factory was raided last month and action was taken against those running it, police say

At least nine persons died and two were injured on Tuesday in an explosion at an illegal firecracker unit in the Indian state of West Bengal.

The impact of the blast, which took place at 11.35 am, caused the factory at Egra block of the state’s East Medinipur district to collapse.

The firecracker was allegedly being operated from the home of a person identified as Krishnapada Bag, alias Bhanu Bagh at Khadikul village on the West Bengal-Odisha border.

“The illegal firecracker factory was raided last month and action was taken against those running it,” Purba Medinipur Superintendent of Police K Amarnath said. “What caused the incident will only be clear after an investigation.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered an inquiry by the Criminal Investigation Department into the incident. She also said that last year, the police had arrested the factory owner, but he was later released on bail.

“Earlier the panchayat was under our control when the factory owner was arrested,” Banerjee said. “But now since it is under BJP’s [Bharatiya Janata Party] control, our MLAs who visited the spot were not allowed entrance.”

The state government said that the families of the dead will receive financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakhs and the injured will receive medical care and assistance of Rs 1 lakh.

The state unit BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah demanding that the National Investigation Agency should look into the case.

“This incident has not only caused casualties but has also instilled a deep sense of fear and insecurity within the local community,” Majumdar said. “The gravity of the situation is further exacerbated by reports suggesting the presence of numerous illegal firecracker manufacturing factories in the vicinity.”

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