Child’s nut hunt ends in blast death

Guwahati, May 13 : A seven-year-old boy died in a grenade blast in Baksa after he brought the explosive home thinking it to be a fruit and tried to crack it open like a tamul (betel nut) with a knife.
It was around 7.30am and Ajay Basumatary was busy collecting betel nuts and mangoes that had dropped in his backyard after yesterday’s storm, when he stumbled upon the Austrian grenade.
“He brought the grenade to his courtyard and curious to know what it was, he hit it with a knife in the same manner as he would a tamul (betel). Under its impact, the lever of the grenade came off and it exploded, killing the child on the spot,” a police official said.
The explosion also injured Ajay’s mother Sarala, 30, his grandmother Bibari, 55, sister Rupa, 10, and brother Maneswar, 5, and blew up a part of their home in Sarukuchijhar village under Barama police station.
Ajay’s father, Anil, a farmer, was out in the field when the explosion occurred.
The police official said the child died of multiple injuries on his chest, abdomen, hands and legs.
“The injured were admitted to a hospital at Musalpur and their condition is stated to be out of danger,” he said.
“It was a freak accident. Since the child was just seven years of age, he had absolutely no idea that it was a grenade,” he added.
The police have not been able to ascertain how the grenade landed in the backyard of Ajay’s house.
“We suspect the rebels might have hidden the Austrian grenade, as Ulfa and the National Democratic Front of Boroland are known to use such grenades. Moreover, these two militant groups are also active in that area,” the police official said.
The police later thoroughly searched the backyard but could not find any bomb or other explosive substance.
“Another child, who was with Ajay when he found the grenade, showed us the spot. Though we combed the entire area, we failed to find any more explosives,” a police source said.
They have sent the body for autopsy and registered a case (number 26/2009) under Sections III, IV and V of the Explosives Act at Barama police station.