On October 29, homemade bombs were set off at a Jehovah’s Witnesses three day prayer meeting event in Kalamassery, Kerala, killing three people and injuring over fifty people. A man claiming to be a former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has claimed responsibility for the blasts.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a briefing that 17 people were in intensive care with 5 in critical condition. Health Minister Veena George said a 12 year old girl with 95% burns was in critical condition, who has now passed away due to her injuries, being the third person to die due to the blasts.
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Man claims responsibility for blasts
Dominic Martin claimed responsibility for the attacks on a video posted on his facebook, before surrendering to a police station in Thrissur district that is 40 kms away from the site of the explosions. “I am taking full responsibility for this. I carried out the bomb explosion. I am making this video to make it clear why I did this”, Dominic said in his facebook video.
He believes the Jehovah’s Witnesses are “anti national” in their teachings. About six years ago he tried to persuade the group from changing their views. Dominic has claimed to be a former member of the Christian denomination, however, TA Sreekumar, regional spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, said that Dominic is not a registered member of the group. He said he was unaware if Dominic was one of the 2300 people that attended the three day event.
The police reported that Dominic is still being questioned in Kochi. “We are still trying to ascertain the veracity of his statement, it will take some time. We are not in a position to confirm his involvement in the case right now, investigation is ongoing,” a representative from the police station said.
Bomb an improvised explosive device
Kerala Director General of Police Shaik Darvesh Saheb said that preliminary reports suggest an improvised explosive device was used in the attacks. The explosions occurred seconds after the end of the prayer session for the day. First blast happened in the middle of the hall, then two subsequent blasts happened simultaneously at opposite ends of the hall, told Sreekumar to a local news channel, mathrubhumi.
Chief Minister Pinari Vijayan has announced a 20-member investigating team to inquire into the attacks, saying the police are taking the incident very seriously. A special team led by ADGP Law and Order will be investigating these attacks. The CM has also called for an all-party meeting today.
Kerala police have warned against spreading disinformation and fake news. There will be round the clock surveillance of social media sites to ensure no fake information is being circulated.