Four dead, six injured as shell explodes in Kolkata (Second Lead)

August 3rd, 2008 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 3 (IANS) Four people, including a three-year-old child, were killed and six other people were injured in an explosion caused by a gunshell near the Sarbamangala Ghat here Sunday evening, the police said, but denied it was a terrorist act. The explosion occurred in Jyotinagar, a ragpickers’ colony under the North Port Police Station in the northern part of the city, when some of its inhabitants tried to open a shell which a boy had collected in the morning while collecting scrap.

Two people died on the spot when the explosion occurred around 6 p.m., while two more succumbed to their injuries at the state-run R.G. Kar Hospital. The condition of three of the five admitted to the hospital was described as serious.

One of the injured was discharged after preliminary treatment, city police commissioner Goutam Mohan Chakraborty told reporters.

“They boy had showed it to his mother and friends. They didn’t realise it was a shell. They thought the object had some brass in it, which they could sell and earn some money. So they gathered in the evening and tried to open it. While they were doing so, it exploded,” Chakraborty said.

“It was purely an accident. It does not have any connection with any subversive activity. There is no need to panic,” he said after visiting the spot along with top police officers including deputy commissioner (detective department) Javed Shamim.

Asked whether the shell could be from the nearby Cossipore Gun and Shell Factory, the police chief said: “We have to find it out.”

Forensic department officials will collect samples from the spot Monday morning.

The explosion, coming close on the heels of the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, kept the police on tenterhooks for quite some time.

A large police contingent, including bomb disposal squad personnel, rushed to the area, which was sealed off. Sniffer dogs were also pressed into service.

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