A child was among two people killed in an accidental explosion on Thursday inside a scrap dealer’s shop at Rureke Kalan near here.
Junk vendor Amar Nath (30) had brought home a 20-kilogram bombshell unsuspectingly and was hammering it to extract some scrap metal when it blew up, injuring him and five other members of his family. Amar Nath and his niece, Simi (2), were declared “brought dead” at a hospital. The injured — Amar’s wife, Manpreet (28); daughter, Mamta (3); brother’s wife, Paramjit (27); and nephew, Soni (10) — were referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. Paramjit, who is out of danger, has been discharged.
The explosion shattered the shell into five pieces and made pits in the concrete floor, Tapa Mandi deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Kesar Singh has said, adding: “The victim used to source scrap from Balianwali village, which is close to Bathinda Cantonment, the possible source of the explosive junk.” Amar Nath ran the scrap business with his two brothers.
Rureke Kalan station house officer (SHO) Parminder Singh said a forensic team from Chandigarh had collected samples from the spot. “The object that exploded was a bombshell,” he confirmed. Rureke Kalan shopkeeper Rohit Goyal said the blast had been heard across the village. “The villagers are still in shock. The village shops were closed after the tragedy.”
Victim Amar Nath’s nephew, Sukhwinder Ram, recalled how his uncle had found a heavy iron object in scrap, “unaware that it was explosive”. The victim’s brother, Jaspal Singh, said: “Our shop is at Balianwali village. We had moved the scrap to our house at Rureke Kalan to extract metal for the money we needed for the wedding of a daughter in the family. Looking at the size of the iron object, we hoped to make `60,000.”
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Opinderjit Singh Ghuman said: “Only Amar Nath knew from where he had got the object, and now he is no more.” “We have not contacted the Bathinda Cantonment officers, so far. Once we have the forensic report and know what type of explosive it was, we will contact the appropriate authorities,” he added.