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Six persons, including three children, were killed in a crude bomb blast at Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu where agitation is going on against the Kudankulam nuclear plant. Government sources, however, said the preliminary investigation indicated that the blast had nothing to do with the agitation, but was related to clashes between two groups of people over a local agitation against mining.
Tirunelveli district administration sources said crude bombs have gone off in a house at Tsunami colony which is less than a km away from the nuclear power plant. People from a nearby coastal village Koothankully have been staying in the colony in connection with an agitation against a sand mining firm at Kudankulam.
Safety arrangements have been stepped up at the nuclear plant following the blast as part of the standard protocol followed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
S P Dharne, executive director (human resource), NPCIL, said, “There was a rivalry between some residents of two villages, Idinthakarai and Koothankully, and this led to the crude bomb blast in Idinthakarai.” He added that the incident took place around 7 pm.
Dharne said besides the standard safety arrangements, security measures have been stepped up. “The blast occurred at a considerable distance from the plant. No harm has been caused to the nuclear power plant. However, in these cases, vigilance and security arrangements are stepped up to ensure that no one takes advantage of the chaos,” he said.
The first unit of KNPP attained first criticality earlier in July this year. The Tirunelveli police said they were probing all aspects and did not want to speculate on who could be behind the explosion.
Two houses were razed under the impact of the blast, they said, adding that rescue teams rushed to the spot to clear the debris and extricate people believed trapped under it.
A Home Ministry spokesman said in New Delhi the country-made bomb went off “accidentally” when some miscreants were making the explosive in their hut.
The ministry has sought a report while a team of NIA and NSG officials is being rushed to the spot.
The nuclear plant has been on the radar of terrorist including Indian Mujahideen. The Centre said they have alerted the state government with inputs regarding terrorists trying to carry out explosion at vital instalments including the nuclear plants.