Wednesday, December 6, 2023

NHRC seeks response from West Bengal government on death of 9 labourers in illegal factory blast

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday issued notice to the government of West Bengal over an explosion that took place at an illegal fireworks factory in Khadikul village near Egra of the state’s East Midnapore district, leading to death of nine labourers and injuries to five others.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the Commission observed that the contents of the news story, if true, amounted to violation of human rights of the victims, as the blast took place on May 16 due to the negligence of the concerned public authorities, which apparently did not take any action against the owner of the illegal fireworks factory.

The villagers alleged that the owner of the factory has long been engaged in the making of bombs, besides fireworks, but no visible action was taken by the authorities despite complaints.

The Commission directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, West Bengal, to submit a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

As per NHRC, the report should include the status of the FIR registered by the police, medical treatment of the victims and compensation, if any, granted to the Next of Kin of the deceased persons, and the injured. The Commission would also like to know about the action taken against the delinquent officers, responsible for the tragedy.

According to the media report, carried on 17th May, 2023, the incident triggered mob fury as the villagers scuffled with the police, accusing them of a nexus with the factory owner who had been allowed to run the illegal factory despite their repeated appeals for its closure. The villagers have claimed that at least 15 labourers were working inside when the blast occurred.

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