KOLKATA – An eight-year-old child was killed and at least nine other people injured on Tuesday when a homemade bomb went off in a suburb of the Indian city of Kolkata, police said.
India’s eastern West Bengal state, of which Kolkata is the capital, has a long history of political violence and targeted killings of rival party activists.
“The crude bomb exploded below a four-storey building near the market and injured 10 persons, four of them seriously,” Barrackpore police commissioner Rajesh Kumar Singh told AFP.
“An eight-year-old who sustained injuries in the blast died at the hospital. We are investigating it from all aspects,” he added, refusing to name any suspects.
Eyewitnesses described a “powerful explosion” to local media and said that it shattered the windows of nearby buildings. Police said that forensic teams were trying to gather evidence.
The state’s dominant political players, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI-M, have traded allegations of crude bomb attacks and other violence in the past.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right wing Bharatiya Janata Party, which has started to make political inroads in the state in the last few years, has also accused rivals of violence.
A Press Trust of India report cited Panchu Roy, a local TMC politician whose office is inside the building where the blast happened, as saying that he was the actual target.
“It was a pre-planned blast…. They had planned to kill me and other TMC workers, as it would create panic and help them gain (a) foothold in the area,” he said, without naming any suspects.