A twenty-eight-year-old youth has died in a mysterious midnight explosion at Nanded, 290 kms from Aurangabad, while he was shifting biscuit cartons from a godown located in Taroda, on the outskirts of the town.
Pandurang Ameelkanthwar (28) died while his cousin Shankarrao was injured in the incident.
Though preliminary investigations have ruled out any possibility of a bomb blast, police said they would be able to comment only after the forensic experts reaching Aurangabad late at night conduct a survey of the area.
The impact of the blast, however, defies preliminary theories suggesting an electric short circuit to be the cause of the explosion. Eyewitnesses said huge debris was scattered all around the godown.
Superintendent of Nanded police, Phatesingh Patil told Hindstan Times his team has not received any reports of suspicious activities taking place anywhere in the vicinity of Shahtri Nagar where the incident took place.
Industries Minister Ashok Chavan, who is also a local MLA, said: "The police told me it is difficult to arrive at any conclusion with initial reports though the impact of the blast was quite strong. The police will try to get information from the injured person who has been admitted to the hospital."
The incident has brought back memories of a similar blast in the town about two years ago when two youth trying to experiment with ammonium nitrate had died when the chemical exploded. There have been allegations that the youth were members of Hindu fundamentalist groups and were involved in making crude bombs.
In Mumbai, secular groups put a question mark on police theories and sought a thorough investigation into the incident.
"The blast was of such a magnitude that not only was 28-year-old Pandurang's body charred to coal but the shutter of the godown was found 15 feet away and windows and doors of the godown blown apart. The man who died lives at Rangargalli which is a good 6 kilometres away from the spot and hence doubts have been raised as to his presence in the middle of the night at the godown — clear questions are being asked about the nature of actual activities in this so-called 'biscuit' godown," said Teesta Setalvad, co-editor of Communalism Combat magazine.
The Central Government should keep a close watch and monitor the situation. Soon after Friday prayers on Friday February 16, a 5-7 lakh religious gathering (all-India) Ijtema has been scheduled at Malegaon not far away, she said.