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Men make bombs, women & babies die

Rampurhat (Birbhum), Oct. 28: Four children and two women died along with seven others when explosive substances stocked for making crude bombs went off in a house last night in Dakhalbati village, about 10 km from here.

Police said the blast, which destroyed Netai Das’ two-storey mud house and flung bodies several metres away into a paddy field, killed six of his family members. The others who died were from Rampurhat, Hattala and Baghdhui villages. A seriously injured Netai has been admitted to the Rampurhat subdivision hospital.

Deputy inspector general of police Narayan Ghosh said at Writers’ Buildings today that Netai was a Congress supporter while some of those who were killed had criminal records.

“In all probability, there was some explosive material stored in the house which was the cause of the blast,” said Banibrata Basu, deputy inspector general of police, Burdwan Range. “We are looking into why some men came to the house and were possibly making crude bombs.” Teams from the state’s intelligence branch and the Criminal Investigation Department have also arrived.

Among those killed were Netai’s wife, Patasi, his daughter-in-law Madhuri, her three children — Mala (5), Kalkali (2) and Durga (1) — and six-year-old Prakash, a grandson.

Netai’s sister Sucharini, who escaped the blast, said Paltu Dey, Nabikul Sheikh, Rafikul Sheikh, Ratan Mahara, Tulu Sheikh, Chandan Sheikh and Basir Sheikh had come to the house last night. She said the men had first gathered at the house of panchayat pradhan Hanif Shiekh, who is absconding. The Dakhalbati panchayat is under Congress control. Police said the villagers are claiming that the men who died were all Congress supporters.

Souren Sheikh, a resident, said the blast, at about 9.15, made the villagers rush out of their homes. “We came out to see the house completely blown off and mutilated bodies lying around,” he said. “Other bodies were buried in the debris.”

Three fire engines watered the smouldering house to prevent further explosions. Early today, the bodies were recovered from under the rubble.

Sources said tension between Congress and CPM supporters was on the boil in the area and bombs were used in skirmishes between the two parties during the past few days. ( 0)

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