Thursday, 7 May 2015

12 killed in illegal cracker factory explosion in Midnapore

Twelve persons were charred to death and four others injured in an explosion at an illegal firecracker factory at Pingla in West Midnapore district of West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordering a CID investigation into the incident. “Twelve charred bodies have been recovered from the blast spot, while four injured have been admitted to hospital,” IGP (Western Range) S N Gupta told PTI.

The house owner Ranjan Maiti has been arrested, he added. Police said the factory was illegal and the blast took place shortly before 10 PM last night and the raging fire has been put out. All the victims were employees of the factory who were brought from Murshidabad district, police said. The bodies were charred beyond recognition and it is difficult to even identify their gender. The bodies were sent to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital for post-mortem.

To a question if the incident was like the Burdwan blast that took place in October last year and claimed the lives of two suspected Jamaat-ul Maujahideen Bangladesh terrorists, Gupta replied in the negative. “It is (Pingla blast) an accident in a cracker factory.” Asked if any central probe team, specially the NIA, had visited the spot or contacted him, Gupta said, “The question does not arise since it is a case of accident in a cracker factory.”

On the reason behind the blast, West Midnapore superintendent of Police B Ghosh said, “We are looking into it. Probably something went wrong during the manufacturing of crackers.” The Chief minister, who ordered a CID probe into the explosion, wondered, “How could so many firecrackers be prepared at one place and how so many explosive substances were accumulated in one place ?” “I ask all Green police (civic police) personnel in all villages to keep a watch on such activities and to inform the local police station if they find explosive substances being accumulated at any place,” she said at a programme at Namkhana in South 24 Paraganas district. Police said that it is on the look out for another person in connection with the explosion.

Neighbouring areas like Sabang and Baliachak, besides Pingla were being scanned for other such firecracker units, it added. CID sources in Kolkata said a CID team would visit Pingla and a central forensic team has already reached there. Meanwhile, Congress and BJP have demanded a probe by NIA into the incident. Congress leader Manas Bhunia, an MLA from neighbouring Sabang, visited the spot and demanded NIA probe. Bhunia, who earlier met governor K N Tripathi on the issue, said it was unlikely that police did not know about the existence of the illegal cracker unit.

Thursday 7 May 2015

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Panna bus accident bodies to be kept in Bhopal hospitals

District administration in Panna decided on Wednesday not to bury 21 bodies of victims of bus accident in Panna that took place on Monday. Now, bodies will be kept in three hospitals of Bhopal till DNA reports are received.

Bodies were brought to state capital on Wednesday.

As all dead were charred beyond recognition, relatives were not able to identify their kith and kin. Samples of dead as well as those of relatives for DNA were taken and report is awaited.

District collector SN Chouhan said that instead of burying them till DNA report is received, we decided to keep them in mortuaries of three hospitals in Bhopal.

They are Hamidia hospital, People's Hospital and JK hospital. He said DNA report is expected in a month, he said.

On Monday, a bus carrying passengers from Chhatarpur to Rewa rammed a culvert and plunged 15 feet down into a dry nullah 13 kms away from Panna on NH-75. Bus caught fire leaving 21 dead and 14 injured.

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Chhatarpur, district administration has learnt that a large number of buses plying from district head quarter to New Delhi carrying a large number of people who migrate to the national capital in search of job, did not have permits.

Chhatarpur bus owners association Abid Siddique raised this issue in a meeting with the district administration. He said these buses were issued permit for carrying wedding parties during wedding season but they are making illegal trips to New Delhi.

Thursday 7 May 2015

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Nepal remembers quake victims on conclusion of religious mourning period

Families and relatives of thousands of Nepal's earthquake victims prayed and conducted Hindu after-death rituals on Thursday marking the end of the 13-day mourning period.

Nearly 80% of Nepal's population are Hindus and most the over 7,600 dead belonged to that faith. Families can resume their routine lives once the mourning period is over.

"Family members of those who passed away on the day of the quake on April 25 conducted 'kriya-karma' (religious rites) to mark the end of the mourning period," said Govinda Tandon, member secretary of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).

In Kathmandu, many victims were cremated at the cremation ground of Pashupati Temple located on banks of the holy Bagmati. Last rites of over 660 bodies were performed at the temple's 'arya-ghat'.

Family members of the deceased stay in small dwellings near the cremation ground and conduct religious rituals till the mourning period is over.

"On the 13th day they pray for the freedom and peace to the departed's soul, offer donations to priests and share meals with family members and relatives," he said.

Hundreds gathered at Kathmandu's Basantapur Darbar Square, where many world heritage structures were destroyed by the quake, to offer condolences and prayers to those dead. Candlelight prayers were also held in the evening at other places.

Obituaries with photos of the victims placed by friends, families, colleagues, classmates to mark the 'punya-tithi' (auspicious day) covered several pages of Nepal's prominent vernacular dailies.

Besides those dead, over 16,000 sustained injuries in the quake. Among the 410 missing till date, 106 are foreigners. Most dead bodies have been handed over to relatives. But 31 of them including 4 foreigners still lie unclaimed at Kathmandu's Teaching Hospital.

In another development, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu issued a release terming as baseless news reports about Indian Air Force aircrafts carrying relief material without coordinating with Nepali authorities.

Thursday 7 May 2015

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