Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh: The powerful explosion that ripped through a restaurant in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday and left over 90 people dead was triggered by a short circuit at an adjacent shop where explosives used for mining were stored, and not by a cylinder blast as claimed earlier, the police have said.
The owner of the shop - a small flour mill near Jhabua district - where the explosives (nearly 100 gelatine sticks) were stored has been booked by the police but is yet to be traced. Rajendra Kaswa reportedly had license to use the explosives for his mining business but stored them at the shop illegally. After the explosion yesterday, he and his family allegedly fled from their residence.
Locals claim they had lodged a complaint about Kaswa almost a year ago, but no action was taken against him. "Last year I had complained to the Collector about Kaswa storing explosives in this area but no one did anything," said Channu Lal, his neighbour.
Over 90 people died and nearly 100 were injured when the explosion happened around 9 am near a bus stand in a crowded area. Many of those who died had come to have breakfast at the restaurant.
The high intensity blast completely destroyed the shop and the two-storey building that housed the restaurant. Several adjacent buildings also suffered damages. Official had yesterday said a cylinder blast caused the explosion.
When Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited the blast site today, his convoy was blocked by angry protesters. The minister could proceed to the blast site only after he spoke with them and assured them of immediate action. Pictures showed him sitting on the road with locals.
Yesterday, the minister had announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh for the families of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those injured. Today he said he will meet the families of all victims to ensure they get all the help they need. "The guilty will not be spared," he assured them.