Two people were killed and nine others injured in a firecracker explosion during a religious procession in Punjab on Saturday, police said.
The incident occurred during a Nagar Kirtan taken out near Pahu village in Tarn Taran district. Police said sparks arising from crackers being burst during the religious procession landed on a tractor trolley that was carrying a huge pile of fireworks, causing the explosion.
Expressing shock, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to conduct a "thorough inquiry" into the incident. He also announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 5 lakh for the families of those killed and free treatment for the injured at hospitals in the vicinity.
The Tarn Taran Deputy Commissioner has been asked to ensure that the injured get "the best possible treatment".
Saddened to hear about the tragic firecracker blast in Tarn Taran that left 2 dead and 9 injured. My govt will give ex-gratia of 5 lakhs to the kin of deceased & free treatment for the injured. SDM Tarn Taran will probe the incident to fix responsibility.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 8, 2020
"Saddened to hear about the tragic firecracker blast in Tarn Taran that left 2 dead and 9 injured. My govt will give ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of deceased and free treatment for the injured. SDM Tarn Taran will probe the incident to fix responsibility," Amarinder Singh tweeted soon after the incident.
The state government has asked Tarn Taran authorities to extend much-needed assistance to the families of the victims. The post-mortem examination of the bodies is likely to be completed expeditiously, so they can be handed over to their families without delay.
Initial reports suggest that some youngsters exploded makeshift firecrackers in the trolley, triggering the explosion. "More details will come to light after the Sub-Divisional Magistrate has completed the inquiry," a government spokesperson said.