India

Firecracker explosion in Bengal damages buildings, sparks clashes

Firecracker explosion in Bengal damages buildings, sparks clashes
Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma, who visited the spot, said a forensic team will examine the area.

Firecrackers seized by police went off while being defused on the banks of the Ganga in Naihati town of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Thursday, causing cracks in several buildings and shattering window panes, even on the other side of the river — Chinsurah in Hooghly.

While no injury was reported in the explosion that took place during the controlled diffusion, which was being carried out by a bomb squad of Barrackpore Police Commissionerate at Ramghat in Naihati late in the afternoon, angry residents clashed with the police, leaving four personnel wounded.

A similar aggression was seen on the other side of the river in Chinsurah town.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured compensation to those whose houses were damaged. “Do not worry. I have asked my local MLA Partha Bhowmik to look into it. We will compensate for the damages caused to the people,” she said.

Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma, who visited the spot, said a forensic team will examine the area. “An investigation has been initiated. Many houses got damaged during disposal of firecrackers, which were recently seized from a factory in Naihati. The explosion impacted many houses in Naihati and Chinsurah. Why it had such a huge impact is a matter of investigation,” said Verma.

He added the bomb disposal squad were merely doing their job. “Whether a proper procedure was being followed or not, I cannot comment. It’s only the bomb disposal squad who can examine the matter,” said Verma.

Meanwhile, the BJP demanded an NIA probe and blamed the police and administration for the incident. “These are not crackers. They are RDX and explosives. West Bengal CM and police should be held responsible. We demand an NIA probe. After knowing that the Naihati incident (in which five persons were killed during an explosion), will be probed by the NIA, the police officials started disposing of the high-intensity explosives to protect the militants,” said BJP MP Locket Chatterjee.