Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was heckled on Sunday after he reached the Madhya Pradesh town where 100 people were killed the day before when high-grade mining explosives stored illegally in a house blew up.
He assured the angry and grieving people of a judicial inquiry, by a senior high court judge, into the tragic incident that left many survivors maimed for life.
Chouhan announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh on prime accused Rajendra Kasawa, who stored a pile of explosives in a building located in congested locality of Petlawad town in Jhabua district.
The explosion was so huge that it completely destroyed at least two buildings and an adjacent restaurant and damages several houses in the vicinity.
Police have launched a massive hunt to capture Kasawa, who was on the run along with his family.
“I will not spare anyone. We are standing with the people who have lost everything,” Chouhan said.
But he found it tough to pacify the people as they surrounded him over the administration and police’s alleged careless attitude towards stockpiling of explosives in residential areas.
The protesters, shouting slogans and waving black flags, forced Chouhan to step out of his car and listen to their complaints against local authorities for failing to enforce safety regulations.
A senior police said Kasawa might have been storing explosives in the house for over a decade. His brother died in a similar explosion about eight years ago.
Kasawa was given a license to purchase detonators for digging wells, but had stored detonators illegally in a room adjacent to the restaurant, located next to the main bus station. It was crowded with people having breakfast when the blasts occurred.
The explosive materials are used by miners for blasting operations and for digging wells. Farmers too use them for flattening hillsides and rocky lands.
(With inputs from agencies)