Opposition questions Mamata Banerjee’s silence over the issue

The death toll in the bomb blast in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district rose to six on Saturday with one of the injured admitted to the North Bengal Medical College Hospital succumbing to his injuries.

Five persons died in the explosion at Bajrrapra bridge at the Koltwali police station area of the district on Thursday evening. While fingers were pointed at the Kamptapur Liberation Organisation, the outfit has refused to own responsibility for the blast.

Two days after the explosion, while the police is yet to come out with any official statement on who is responsible for the blast, the State’s North Bengal Minister Gautam Deb told journalists in Siliguri that “external forces” were behind the incident.

Meanwhile, seven persons were arrested in connection with firing of gunshots at a bus in West Bengal’s Malda district late on Friday evening. At least three persons were injured in the incident that occurred under Habibbpur police station of the district in North Bengal.

Major Opposition parties in the State have questioned the silence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the Jalpaiguri explosion. Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former Minister for North Bengal Development Ashok Bhattacharya said “it is matter of shame” that even 48 hours after the incident there had been no statement by the State government on who is responsible for the blast.

“There were reports of the activists of the KLO regrouping in the area but no action was taken against them, the reason being a section of the Trinamool Congress leadership is hand-in-glove with the members of the outfit.”

Describing the silence of Ms. Banerjee on the issue as “surprising,” senior Congress leader and Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury questioned why she was shying from issuing a statement on a terrorist act that claimed six lives. “She has neither expressed her remorse over the matter nor said who are those being the act,” he said, adding that the incident showed that the intelligence and police administration in the State had collapsed.

State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya visited the explosion site in the day and said that he has urged Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to look into the matter.

“It is a failure of State government. Let the State government continue with its investigation but we have urged the Union Home Minister to look into the matter as law and order in the State is rapidly deteriorating.”