Chinese companies subverting PM Modi’s strict import regulations

NEW DELHI: It is very easy to identify...

India’s Defense Export: A 14-Fold Leap in 7 Years

NEW DELHI: India’s defense exports have skyrocketed,...

The unfinished reforms saga

It is imperative for India to replicate...

Blast exposes Bengal’s illegal factories making bombs and firearms

Top 5Blast exposes Bengal’s illegal factories making bombs and firearms

NEW DELHI: The massive blast that took place last week, in an alleged firecracker factory in West Bengal’s East Medinipur district, killing at least nine people, has once again brought out how illegal firearms and bomb-making factories flourish in the hinterlands of Bengal, often with the patronage of local politicians and police.
This particular “firecracker factory” in East Medinipur’s Egra, that exploded on 16 May at around 12:30 pm had witnessed at least three blast incidents in the past, say sources in the local police.
The owner, a muscleman from the area, Bhanu Bagh, who lost his life that morning in the blast, was in this business for almost two decades. Locals say that with the blessings of the local politicians and the police, he grew his business, which flourished despite he having at least six cases under the Explosive Substances Act pending in various courts in the state.
A resident who spoke to The Sunday Guardian on telephone from Egra, said that it was not unknown as to what was going on in the factory. “Everyone knew it to be a firecracker factory, but under the garb of making firecrackers, bombs and firearms were also being manufactured. Everyone knew about it, even the police knew. Everyone got their share, so they will stay silent. During the last elections (municipal elections), a lot of bombs and ammunitions went from here. I don’t know where these went, but people would come at night and collect their parcels,” the resident who did not wish to be identified, told this newspaper.
Another resident, who is a leader in Egra, said that Bagh was a well-connected man, and that in October 2022, his factory was raided and sealed, but within a month, he secured a bail from the courts and came back and restarted his operations. “We don’t understand, every time he was caught, he secured a bail within a month and restarted his operations. He was a strongman. His son and wife, all are involved in this business. They make huge money from this and therefore everyone is kept happy and nothing happens to them in the long run. But look at destiny; this same factory has killed him now,” he told this correspondent.
The Mamata Banerjee led government, after three days of the incident, transferred the Station House Officer in charge of Egra police station, Mausam Chakraborty, and handed over the investigation to the CID.
Experts and political analysts say that bomb making factories and “illegal firecracker factories” in every rural district Bengal, have become like a “cottage industry” that operates with much impunity. This is also evident from the large number of bomb explosion cases that have been registered in West Bengal.
Officials say that districts like Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Burdwan have many illegal factories that make crude bombs and firearms. Apparently, this trade is often practised and passed on by families from generation to generation in the rural areas.
“Rural Bengal does not have much employment opportunities, most of the youths are either into farming, or small-time work and many get themselves involved in such illegal businesses as this helps them earns a quick a buck and patronage from local politicians. The making of illegal crude bombs and country pistols and bullets is undertaken by generational makers who often operate these small factories within their premises or in small hutments in open fields. The demand for their products increases during elections, political rallies and to settle scores between politicians and musclemen. It has now become a question of survival for many in rural Bengal,” a former police officer, told this correspondent.
The large seizures of explosives from houses and fields, and incidents of high and low intensity bomb explosions are rampant in Bengal. In the last three months alone, at least five incidents of bomb explosions have been reported from West Bengal.
In February, bombs were hurled during clashes between Trinamool Congress workers in Birbhum. The incident killed two people. In March, during the Ram Navami processions in Howrah and Raiganj, bombs were hurled, gun shots fired; in March again, a crude bomb went off at the house of a TMC’s district level leader in Birbhum.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the last three years has registered at least 10 cases of bomb blast and explosion under the Explosive Substances Act in Bengal in various districts of the. All of these are currently under investigation.

- Advertisement -

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles