The day began as ordinarily as any other. The Jessore road snaking through Kolkata’s Nagerbazar was a little less busy than usual, as the city observed a day off on Gandhi Jayanti. But vendors, locals and some work-bound commuters who had no respite on a national holiday continued to rush to work. Among them was Sita Ghosh, a domestic help, on her way to work in Nagerbazar’s Kazipara area. But little did 42-year-old Sita know that tragedy would befall her 8-year-old son Bibhas.
“That day, the people for whom his [Bibhas’s] mother worked for were not home. So, she took him to the sweet shop which was on the ground floor [of the building],” Sebonti Roy Chowdhury, a resident of Nagerbazar, tells The Quint.
Here, right in front of this five-storeyed building, a crude bomb went off at around 9 am. While the neighbourhood shuddered with the high-intensity explosion, Sita and her son suffered the worst of the blast.
“We heard a huge booming sound,” recalls Sebonti, who was at home when the bomb went off.
Eyewitnesses, meanwhile, remember hearing Bibhas’ screams, crying out in agony for his mother. His body was charred beyond recognition.
Bibhas, dearly known as ‘Biltu’ by everyone, was quickly rushed to a local hospital. Later, he was shifted to the SSKM hospital, along with his mother.
Later that day, Bibhas succumbed to his injuries, three days before his ninth birthday.
For his birthday on 5 October, Bibhas’s family had big plans. There were gifts bought, friends invited, and his relatives back in his hometown were eagerly looking forward to his visit.
“He would come visit us every year on his birthday,” a local from Bibhas’s hometown in South 24 Paragana tells Anandabazar Patrika. “We had been discussing what we’d give him for his birthday. But now all that…”
The blast on 2 October, that hit the national headlines that morning, turned what should have been a birthday celebration to a funeral. For his last rites, held in South 24 Parganas’ Kulpi on Wednesday, family members and locals brought birthday gifts, toys, sweets, cake, etc., reports Anandabazar Patrika.
While Bibhas’s father and older brother, Bikash, mourn his untimely death, his mother remains in the SSKM hospital’s burn unit, receiving treatment. She is unaware of Bibhas's fate, reports Anandabazar Patrika.
So far, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered by a CID investigation into the blast, which the state BJP unit has dismissed as an “eyewash” and demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Blast in ( Dum dum )nagerbazar kazipara area this morning . More than 7 injured including one child. .Police at the spot pic.twitter.com/iOXLia4q8T— Shabana@ANI (@ShabanaANI2) October 2, 2018
There has also been a lot of outrage over the crime scene being cleaned up before the forensic team had arrived. Pachu Roy, the South Dumdum Municipality chairperson who earlier claimed that the blast was an ‘attack’ meant for him, said the place was “cleaned by police order”, reports Kolkata24x7.
Right after the blast, the site had been sealed and entry was restricted. “I went to the site, but the area was cordoned off...,”says Ahana Sen Gupta, a local, to The Quint.
As the city moves on and fresh headlines hit newspapers, a young boy was laid to rest, never having gotten the chance to turn nine.
(With inputs from Anandabazar Patrika and Kolkata24x7)
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