Jhabua blast fallout : Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan faces angry protestors

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MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan faces angry protestors in Jhabua
MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan faces angry protestors in Jhabua

After the infamous Vyapam scam, things  are going tough for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. According to media reports  protestors have  heckled Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan near the site of the massive blast that left 89 people dead as anger spilled onto the roads in Petlawad town, while the main accused who allegedly had BJP links evaded arrest for storing mining explosives.

Chouhan and his Cabinet colleague Antar Singh Arya faced the wrath of slogan-shouting locals who blocked their path at the new bus stand square close to the site of the tragedy. Gauging the public anger, the two leaders squatted on the ground after being gheraoed and gave a hearing to the protesters for more than 15 minutes before leaving for the mishap site, eyewitnesses said.

Protesters, including Congressmen, came out on the roads in large numbers shouting slogans against the state government and district administration, alleging that it had not taken appropriate steps to prevent the tragedy and demanded stern action against officials for the lapse, eyewitnesses said.

The protesters also shouted slogans demanding sacking of District Collector Aruna Gupta and also allegedly manhandled the area’s Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) AR Khan, who tried the clear the way for the Chief Minister. Chouhan, who visited the mishap site and also went door-to-door meeting the affected families, said he will stay put in Petlawad to oversee relief work till “normalcy is restored”.

Earlier, “I am deeply hurt by the incident in Petlawad, couldn’t sleep the whole night. Going to Petlawad to meet the families, will try to share their pain and make arrangements for future,” Chouhan tweeted before leaving for Jhabua.

At least 89 people, including three children, were killed and over 150 injured in a massive explosion of a deadly stockpile of gelatin rods, urea and other chemicals stored illegally inside a building at a busy bus-stand in Petlawad-Thandla highway in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, at around 8.30 am on September 12.

The detonation ripped apart the three-storey residence-cum-commercial complex which ran a busy eatery along the state highway. There were at least 60 people inside Sethia restaurant and around 100 others inside the building and an adjoining flour mill when the blast occurred. Many of those killed were daily-wagers.

The intensity of the blast tore apart bodies that flew out of the building in a ball of fire. Vehicles parked nearby were charred to skeletal remains. It’s suspected that the gelatin sticks and other chemicals were illegally stored by a local contractor, Rajendra Kaswa of Petlawad, who had rented space in the building to run an agriculture product business five years ago.

“We have booked Rajendra Kasawa under IPC section 304 (man slaughter or punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and section 3 (punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life and property and section 4 (punishment for attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life and property) of Explosive Substances Act yesterday,” Petlawad Sub-Divisional Officer of Police A R Khan told PTI.

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