An eight-year-old boy was killed and at least nine persons were injured when a crude bomb exploded in Dumdum in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Tuesday, police said.
Deceased boy Bibhash Gosh’s mother was among those injured who were admitted to state-run SSKM Hospital.
The blast around 9 a.m. outside a shop in Nagerbazar area ripped through nearby shops, shattered windowpanes of houses and damaged a walkway, eyewitnesses said.
Ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party blamed each other for the blast.
“A large explosion took place outside the shop in Nagerbazar area. According to our probe so far, low-intensity socket bombs were used,” Barrackpore Police Commissioner Rajesh Kumar Singh said.
“More explosives were used to magnify the effects of the low-intensity crude bombs — parts of which ricocheted off the concrete floor and hit a terrace, causing the blast impact to double.
“Eight-year-old Bibhash Gosh was among the injured. He succumbed to injuries at the hospital,” he said.
The police officer said: “We are investigating. A bomb squad of Criminal Investigation Department visited the spot. Several items, including a bag, were seized from the spot and sent for forensic tests. We are still trying to find out the type of explosive used.”
Local Trinamool Congress leader and South Dumdum Municipality Chairman Panchu Gopal Roy, who often comes to a tea stall adjacent to the blast spot to interact with fellow party workers, claimed that the blast was targeted at him.
“I think they tried to target me. Today is October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. We all know which group was involved in Gandhiji’s killing. I will not be surprised if that same group is involved in this blast,” he said.
Food Minister and Trinamool leader Jyotipriyo Mullick also termed the incident a “conspiracy to kill Roy” and blamed the BJP.
“I have never seen such an incident in Dumdum in my entire life. Roy often comes here in the morning to interact with the locals. Hundreds of youth party workers also assemble in the area. It is a clear conspiracy by the BJP to kill him. They are systematically trying to create unrest in the state and kill our partymen,” Mullick alleged.
“I urge all our councillors to arrange for their own protection. The BJP is trying to kill them in broad daylight. I am speechless. How can a political party, which is in power at the Centre, do such things? They are doing it everywhere. Now our boys will give them a befitting answer politically,” he said.
The state BJP, however, denied the allegation and said it had become a habit of the TMC leaders to blame it for any untoward incidents in the state.
“It is the habit of the Trinamool leaders to drag the BJP into everything. But the truth is that all the bomb explosions in Bengal are happening in and around the Trinamool Congress party offices. Be it the Khagragarh blast or the explosion in east Bardhaman’s Guskara. In Bankura, a number of blasts took place inside their party offices,” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
“Their leaders are still blaming the BJP and outsiders from Jharkhand for all this. Then why can’t the police arrest anybody? They cannot stop or defame the BJP like this. Such incidents near Kolkata show that law and order is in a shambles,” he added.