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Son dies a month after daughter

Rabi, the son of Lalmohan Debnath in Bajrapara on Friday. Picture by Biplab Basak

Jalpaiguri, Dec. 27: Saminal Islam’s daughter died about a month ago of a heart ailment. Yesterday, his son died in the bomb blast.

Saminal, a truck driver in his fifties, is inconsolable. His house is a stone’s throw from the culvert at Bajrapara where the explosion happened last evening, killing five persons, including his 17-year-old son Rashidul.

Sahajahan Alam, a schoolteacher and a neighbour of Saminal, said: “No father can bear the death of both his children, that, too, in such a short span of time.”

Sahajahan said it was difficult “for him (Saminal) or his wife. The couple had a son and a daughter. Sabira, the daughter, had a heart ailment and around 40 days ago, she died. The family was mourning her death when the blast took Rashidul.”

Lalmohan Debnath, Anish Hussain, Pappu Rehman and Ranjan Roy were the other four who died in the blast. All the deceased, except Roy, and the injured are from Bajrapara. Mostly daily-wage earners live in the locality, where shops remained shut and people thronged the houses of the deceased and injured this morning.

Rashidul read in Class XII and had been to a shop close to the culvert yesterday to recharge his mobile phone. The explosive — an improvised device fitted with a timer — was kept near the culvert and went off around 7.30pm.

“He was being accompanied by his batchmate, Anish Hussain, who also lived in the same locality. He died, too,” sobbed a relative of Anish.

The blast also killed Pappu Rehman, 22, a contractual ambulance driver at the Jalpaiguri district hospital.

“Pappu was the principal breadwinner of the family. Yesterday, he was walking past the culvert when the blast happened,” said Pappu’s father Bisharu Mohammad.

Family members of Lalmohan Debnath, another victim, were speechless. He used to cut meat in a local market.

Today, residents of Bajrapara said they were upset that some media reports had cited Lalmohan as a KLO blast suspect, according to police. No confirmation on this was forthcoming from the cops.

“It is bad that police are trying to hide their failure by linking Lalmohan with the KLO,” said schoolteacher Shahjahan Alam.

“He was the principal breadwinner of his family. Instead of standing by the bereaved family, the police and the government are making baseless allegations,” he said.

Mantu Debnath, the son-in-law of Lalmohan, said: “He had come home after the day’s work. In the evening, he went to the bridge. Soon, I also went there with my son Suvajit for some errands. We met near the culvert and he told me that he would soon return home. I had just entered my home when I heard a deafening sound. I ran to the culvert and saw three mutilated bodies, one of which was of my father-in-law’s.”