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Blast in illegal firecracker factory claims 6 lives, BJP demands NIA probe, Guv to visit spot

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BARASAT (WB), Aug 27: At least six people were killed and several others injured in a blast at an
illegal firecracker factory in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Sunday morning, police said.
The explosion took place when several people were working at the factory in Nilgunj’s Moshpole in
Duttapukur police station area, around 30 km north of Kolkata, they said.
The impact of the blast was such that over 50 houses in the neighbourhood were partially damaged,
a senior police officer said, adding that they suspect that several people were still stuck under the
rubble.
Police said the son of the owner of the unit, who was working there this morning, was also killed in
the blast.
“The matter is under investigation. Anybody found guilty will be punished. At the moment, we are
conducting rescue operations,” the officer told PTI.
A CID bomb squad, personnel of the disaster management department and a contingent of police
are at the spot, they added.
Locals ransacked the house of one of the owners of the factory following the blast.

Asked whether the factory was also manufacturing bombs under the veil of firecrackers, the officer
said the matter should be probed.
“We have seized raw materials used for manufacturing firecrackers. Our forensics team is checking
and taking details,” he said.
Twelve people were killed in a similar explosion at an illegal firecracker factory in Purba Medinipur
district’s Egra in May.
Governor CV Ananda Bose, who is scheduled to return to the city following his three-day trip to
North Bengal, will visit the blast site and Barasat hospital, a Raj Bhavan statement said.
It added Bose will first go to the blast site at Nilgunj and then visit the district hospital at Barasat to
enquire about the injured before returning to the city.
Soon after Sunday’s blast, the TMC and BJP got involved in a war of words with the saffron party
demanding a NIA probe while the Trinamool asked the BJP to stop doing “vulture politics.”
Leader of the opposition and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said the state was sitting on a powder keg.
“There is no monitoring of illegal activities by police. These crackers’ units are patronised by local
TMC leaders,” he alleged.
The BJP also claimed that the factory was running smoothly with the support of local MLA and state
Food Minister Rathin Ghosh.
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding a NIA
probe into the matter.
“Considering the gravity of the situation and the potential threat these incidents pose to the safety
and security of the region, I earnestly request your intervention. I urge you to direct the National
Investigation Agency (NIA) to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into these explosions,
covering all aspects including the possibility of any terror-related activities,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Dilip Ghosh also demanded a probe by the central agency. “Under TMC rule, West
Bengal has become a hub of bomb-making factory and terror activities and only a NIA probe can
bring out the truth.”
BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said last year there has been at least six such blasts in
illegal firecracker factories.
“Several people including kids have died in blasts in illegal firecracker factories. These factories were
later found to be manufacturing crude bombs. This bomb-making industry is flourishing in Bengal
because of the nexus of TMC, goons and police,” he said.
Reacting to BJP’s allegations, TMC leader Kunal Ghosh equated the BJP with a “vulture” and said it is
a useless political outfit that pursues politics over bodies.
“The BJP should stop doing its vulture politics. They are like vultures – waiting for someone to die so
that they can come and maul the carcass. They should stop jumping to conclusions and let police
complete the probe,” Ghosh said.
Rubbishing the saffron party’s allegation, state Food Minister Rathin Ghosh alleged that the Indian
Secular Front (ISF) is behind the illegal unit.
“I do not think the administration had any information about this illegal factory. I heard that an ISF
activist from Murshidabad had rented a property here and was running the illegal unit. I wonder
whether they were planning something big,” the minister said.
ISF MLA Naushad Siddiqui alleged that the owner of the factory is a member of the TMC and had full
support to run the unit there.
“The owner is a TMC man and he had full support to run this illegal factory,” Siddiqui said.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen told PTI that the state government has formed a SIT (Special
Investigation Team), which busted several such illegal fireworks units over the last few months.
“If there are some units still functioning illegally, those will also be busted soon,” he said.
Sen said at times action against such firework units also invites the ire of locals as thousands of
people depend on it for livelihood.
“But we are firm in wiping out the menace of illegal fireworks.”

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The chairman of the firecrackers’ makers’ association ‘Sara Bangla Atash Bazi Unnayan Samity’ Babla
Roy said banned high-decibel ‘chocolate bombs’ were being manufactured at the illegal factory. (PTI)

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