Two persons were killed and three railway personnel, including the station master, sustained injuries following an explosion at the platform of Sholavandan railway station near here on Tuesday evening.

The deceased were identified as S. Paramasivam (50), a betal nut vendor, and C. Raman, a cracker merchant of Sholavandan, police said.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Madurai Range), P. Balasubramanian, who rushed to the spot, told reporters that it was a blast of low intensity caused by crackers and could be due to friction. Ruling out any sabotage by fundamentalists or other groups, he said that initial investigation by the bomb detection and disposal squad suggested that the explosion was caused by crackers.

The police personnel showed the waste papers and red coloured rolls along with some cotton from the explosion site claiming it to be remnants of exploded crackers. In the impact of the explosion, a portion of the asbestos roof on the platform was ripped apart. The glass panes of the luggage-cum-guard van, the last of the coaches of the Tirunelveli bound Myladuthurai-Erode passenger, was also smashed.

Even as investigation was on, panic prevailed in the area when some one claimed that there were some explosives still left on the platform. Soon, passengers and onlookers ran to safety. The police recovered a gunny bag which had country crackers (‘vengaya vedi’) from the spot.

A team of officials led by Divisional Railway Manager (Madurai Division) Anil Singal rushed to the site in a special train and carried out cleaning operation with the police.

The injured were identified as U. Arumugam, Sholavandan Station Master, M. Arumugam and Chelladurai railway staff, C. Ulaganathan (6), Kaliammal (70), Alagumalai (52), Lokesh (1), Anand, Subramanian (55), Marudappan (55).