‘Dynamite and gelignite may have been kept together’
The people of Batticaloa who are still trying to recover from the crippling impact of a devastating accidental blast at the Karadiyanaru Police Station on Friday, which left over about 25 people dead and scores of others critically injured, observed a day of mourning yesterday.
IGP Mahinda Balasuriya said that the normal functions of the Karadiyanaru police division would be temporarily handled by the Aithyamale police till a new station was set up.
Ballistic and forensic analysts are continuing their probes into the blast which occurred in two container trucks parked with dynamite and gelignite belonging to a Chinese construction company engaged in road construction. A senior police official said that most probable cause of the explosion could have been negligence on the part of the police and those responsible for handling the explosives.
Sources said that dynamite and gelignite had been kept together, something that was not usually done. They said they were waiting for a report from the Government Analyst’s Department.
Sixteen policemen, two Chinese contractors and seven civilians died in Friday’s explosion, while another 54 people were wounded. Some funerals took place on Saturday.
Heavy machinery was rushed to Karadiyanaru to clear the site of the blast. A senior police official overseeing the clearing operations said until the whole areas was cleared of the rubble, the exact number of people killed in the blast could not be given. He said he believed there could be more bodies under the debris.
White flags were hoisted in Batticaloa considering yesterday to mark the day of mourning called by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) of Chief Minister S. Chandrakanthan.
TMVP General Secretary K. Kalieswaran said that the incident at Karadiyanaru was tragic at a time the area was enjoying the dividends of peace. He said that his party had requested all political and other groups to hoist white flags as a mark of respect for those police personnel and civilians who had lost their lives in this tragic incident.
~ www.island.lk ~ by Norman Palihawadane