President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders on Friday expressed grief over the death of several labourers in an explosion at a stone quarry in Karnataka’s Shivamogga.

Kovind tweeted that the news about loss of lives in the explosion was unfortunate and tragic. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and loved ones during this difficult hour. I wish speedy recovery to the injured,” he said.

PM Modi also expressed anguish at the loss of lives and assured that the state government was providing all assistance to the affected. The Prime Minister’s Office quoted Modi as saying: “Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The state government is providing all possible assistance to the affected.”

In the explosion reported around 10.20 pm on Thursday, the number of casualties remained unclear, with reports claiming that at least 15 persons were killed. State Home Minister BS Bommai said that seven persons were killed whereas Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa pegged the death toll at five. Authorities did not rule out the possibility of increase in the death toll.

Expressing grief, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi demanded an ‘in-depth probe’ into the Shivamogga blast.

“Condolences to the families of the victims. Such incidents call for in-depth investigation so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future,” he said.

Karnataka Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah appealed to Yediyurappa to order an impartial inquiry and ensure punishment to the guilty. “Very pained to know about the death of labourers in Shivamogga due to explosion on a truck carrying gelatin. My deepest condolences to the family members of the victims,” he tweeted.

Former Chief Minister and Janata Dal-Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy too urged for an inquiry and demanded strict action against the guilty.

“The tragic death of many workers in Kalukwari village of Abbalagere in Shivamogga has killed many workers. May the soul of the dead find peace. The state government should investigate the blast at the quarry. Strict action must be taken against those responsible. Care should be taken that such incidents don’t recur,” he said.