Six persons, including a 10-year-old boy, died of electrocution while eight others were seriously injured when a high tension wire fell into a pond in Assam’s Nagaon district on Friday, police said.
Alleging negligence by the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL), angry locals attacked the house of a company worker after the tragedy occurred when people were fishing at Uttar Khatooal village under Rupohi revenue circle.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered an inquiry while four APDCL employees were suspended including a sub-divisional officer.
Villagers noticed the high-voltage power distribution wire of 11000-volt hanging lose over the pond belonging to Syeb Ali at around 5 am and informed the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL), the police said.
Electricity department personnel had assured them that the wire was not a live one and so some people went into the pond for fishing, the villagers claimed.
But it was activated around 8 am without informing the locals which lead to the electrocution, they claimed.
The bodies when brought out from the water were either charred or had wisps of smoke emanating from them.
Police said the dead were identified as Rafiqul Islam, Jabar Ali, Habibur Rahman, Mainul Islam, Inamul Islam and Ashiful Islam (10).
The injured were taken to BP Civil Hospital in Nagaon where the condition of some of them was stated to be critical, police said.
State Disaster Response Force personnel rushed to the spot to find if there are any more bodies in the pond, official sources said.
Irate locals armed with sticks attacked the house of an APDCL worker in the area and damaged furniture and his vehicle, police said.
APDCL sub-divisional officer Pallab Das and three other employees of the company were suspended following the incident, officials said.
Additional security forces have been deployed in the area and senior district civil and police officials have rushed to the spot, official sources said.
Expressing his deep anguish over the incident, Assam Chief Minister Sonowal ordered an inquiry into it by Additional Chief Secretary and APDCL chairman Jishnu Barooah, an official release said.
The inquiry will primarily include in its ambit circumstances leading to the electrocution and submit the report to the government at the earliest, it said.
On his instruction, Power Minister Tapan Gogoi, Water Resources Minister Kesab Mahanta and the APDCL chairman rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Mr Mahanta announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2.5 lakh to the next of kin of each of the dead, besides an inquiry into the incident.
Locals alleged that negligence by APDCL had led to the mishap and demanded compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of each of the dead and a government job to one of their family members.
Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta visited the bereaved families and demanded that they be given adequate compensation, besides an inquiry into the incident.