Three persons including a woman were killed and five persons, including two women, were injured in an explosion in an illegal firecracker manufacturing unit at Muttam, Pallipad near Haripad here on Sunday.

The deceased have been identified as Michael Raj, 30, Moorthy, 35, both hailing from Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, and Sunitha, 40, the sister of Mujeeb and Nawaz, the owners of the unit. Mujeeb’s father, Rajan, and his brother Suraj were killed in a similar explosion at the same unit on March 8, 2000, Haripad police said.

The five persons who were injured – Suzy, 40, of Muttam, Michalamma, 60, Yesu, 42, Nashumuthu,54, and Murugan, 40, all four from Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu - are currently undergoing treatment at the T.D. Medical College Hospital, Vandanam, where doctors said the condition of four was still critical. Michalamma, the mother of Michael Raj, who was killed in the explosion, suffered only minor burns.

The explosion took place at 1.50 p.m., police said, adding that the reason for the explosion was yet to be ascertained. The firecracker unit was illegal since the license the owner possessed was an expired one from the Cheppad panchayat whilst the unit was located in the Pallipad panchayat. A case was registered against Mujeeb last year for illegally storing firecrackers and explosives in his house, police said.

Both Mujeeb and Nawaz are absconding.

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