A seven-year-old boy was killed and his 10-year-old friend lost his left palm when some crude bombs kept hidden in a container exploded on a stretch of land adjacent to a railway track at Premchand Nagar area in Bhatpara on the northern fringes of Kolkata on Tuesday morning.
Like every day, the two friends — Nikhil Paswan and Mahesh Shaw — went to play near Kankinara railway station, in the Sealdah North section in North 24-Parganas district, around 6.30am on Tuesday.
Eyewitness said as the two kids, both sons of jute mill workers, reached the site near the railway tracks, Nikhil spotted the container and sat on it, while Mahesh stood by. The moment Nikhil sat on the container, it exploded, killing the seven-year-old on the spot.
The explosion also hit Mahesh, who lost his left palm in the blast. Residents rushed the two kids to Bhatpara State General Hospital, where Nikhil was declared brought dead. After initial treatment, Mahesh was transferred to JNM Hospital and College of Medicine in Kalyani.
He was later shifted to ESI Hospital in Kolkata. A team of the CID’s bomb disposal squad later scanned the area and recovered more bombs kept in a box. However, the police did not disclose the number of bombs recovered. Residents alleged that areas in the vicinity of the Kankinara railway gate had become a den of criminals and police rarely conducted any surveillance.
“There had been a flurry of criminal activities in the area in the last two days. The goons enjoyed political patronage and had hidden the bombs in the container along the railway tracks. It is unfortunate that two innocent kids came across it. Bhatpara has become a stockpile of bombs because of criminals patronised by political parties,” said a jute worker and local resident.
The incident has embarrassed the police as it comes a day after a Trinamul youth wing leader was shot at in Bhatpara. However, to avoid any recurrence of such an incident, Barrackpore police commissioner Alok Rajoria has formed two teams to scan the vulnerable areas, said deputy commissioner (north zone) Srihari Pandey, after visiting the blast site.
Refuting charges levelled against cops by residents, Pandey said: “We have been continuously combing the area and recovered several bombs. There has been no slackness in our efforts. Nevertheless, such an incident has occurred. We are probing the incident to identify the persons involved in it. Nobody will be spared”.
The incident has sparked a political row with the CPM and the BJP blaming the Trinamul leadership and the police for a spate of bomb attacks and stockpiling of bombs and firearms in the Kankinara-Bhatpara belt.