Bengaluru: Six people were killed in a massive explosion in Shivamogga, the home district of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, late Thursday night. The blast took place around 10 km from the town centre when a truck, laden with explosives, was going to an ‘illegal’ quarrying site. Four of the six bodies have been retrieved, but they are yet to be identified.
Shivamogga Rural Police Inspector Sanjeev Kumar told the media that the "truck was blown into pieces. It is not known yet what caused the truck to explode".
Two people -- Sudhakar and Narasimha, both partners of SS Crushers, the company that had leased the land from the owner Avinash Kulkarni to mine stones -- have been arrested. Kulkarni is absconding and a search is on to locate him.
According to reports, the blast took place at around 10:30 pm Thursday night and was accidental.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yediyurappa offered their condolences. In a tweet, the PM said: “Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The state government is providing all possible assistance to the affected.”
Yediyurappa said that the mining activity in Shivamogga’s Hunasodu village, where the explosive-laden truck exploded, was being carried out illegally.
"We have come to know that illegal mining activities were taking place. Action will be taken against those responsible for the incident and also if we find that officials were negligent. There are allegations that some officials knew about the illegal mining but did not take action. If this is true, action will be taken against everyone involved in wrongdoing. My government will also look into stopping the illegal mining activities across the state".
District in-charge minister K S Eshwarappa said action will be taken against the guilty as soon as the report is submitted by experts. “This has never happened before in Shivamogga. We will take strict action based on the report submitted by experts coming in from Bengaluru,” he said.
In a tweet, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said “The news of blast at stone mining quarry in Karnataka is tragic. Condolences to the families of the victims. Such incidents call for in-depth investigation so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future,” he tweeted.