Since around 10 am, the alleged rival sand mafia gangs started throwing crude bombs at each other at Darbarpur village in the Labhpur police station area. Most villagers fled but several students and teachers locked themselves into their school for hours during the bombing.
At Tarka village, less than a kilometre away, some 10 to 15 alleged miscreants were hurriedly making crude bombs to supply one of clashing groups when the explosion took place in a shed behind a house, police said.
Body parts were strewn across the place when police arrived. Local residents here, too, had mostly fled fearing police action.
The Trinamool district chief Anubrata Mondal flatly blamed the CPM 'harmad' for this operation. "They came on motorcycles and hurled bombs," he claimed.
But the local CPM leader, Ramchandra Dom, claimed the groups that clashed were rival Trinamool factions and the house where the bombs were being made belonged to a Trinamool worker.
Police would not confirm either political claim.