AT LEAST seven people were killed in an explosion that allegedly took place while they were manufacturing crude bombs at Darbarpur village in Birbhum’s Labhpur area on Friday. This comes a day after locals from Darbarpur and neighbouring Mirbandh village had clashed over alleged illegal lifting of sand in the area, said police.
“Local miscreants were preparing bombs on Friday to retaliate if attacked again. The bombs exploded while being manufactured,” said a police officer.
Tension prevailed in Darbarpur on Thursday after bombs were hurled by the two groups at each other. Police had rushed to the spot, and the situation was brought under control. Around eight people from both groups were arrested, and police personnel were deployed in the area. Despite this, villagers in Darbarpur were allegedly preparing explosives on Friday, when the bombs suddenly exploded.
“At least seven people have died. They all are locals. It was an accidental explosion while bombs were being manufactured. We are probing the incident,” SP (Birbhum) N Sudheer Kumar said. While three died on the spot, four died after being taken to Labhpur hospital.
“Death toll may rise, since many are critically injured and have been admitted to the hospital,” said a police officer.
The villagers, meanwhile, claimed “outsiders” had hurled bombs at them. Some also blamed local Trinamool Congress leaders for the incident, calling it an “internal conflict” for control over lifting of sand. While police have denied a political angle in the incident, the local units of Trinamool and CPM have blamed each other for the incident.
“Our party has no connection to what happened in Labhpur. CPM cadres are behind this. There is no question of internal clash in Trinamool in Birbhum,” said Anubrata Mondal, president of the party’s Birbhum unit.
CPM leader Ram Chandra Dome, on the other hand, said: “It is the clear-cut fallout of an internal clash in the Trinamool. They are involved in illegal lifting of sand, which has reached an extent where innocent people are losing their lives.”
Following the explosion, Dwarka High School — located near to the blast site — was closed, said police.