In Kochi – Sunday morning, during a Jehovah’s Witness convention in Kalamassery, Kerala, multiple explosions shook the convention centre, leaving one woman dead and 52 other people injured. 18 people were admitted to Govt. Medical College & Hospital in Kochi, whereas others are admitted in nearby private hospital. Among the injured, a 12 year old child and six other people are in critical condition. The person who got killed in the blast has not been recognised yet.
According to Kerala DGP Shaik Darvesh Saheb, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was the main cause of the explosion at a convention centre on Sunday, which left one person dead and 52 injured. A series of blasts around 9:45 am inside the convention centre. The 1st blast took place in the middle of the hall, few Seconds later, two more blasts rocked simultaneously on both sides of the hall. The explosions happened during the Jehovah’s Witness convention at Kalamassery’s Zamrah International Convention Centre, where a group of Christian people was holding a prayer meeting.
The chief minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, called the incident “very unfortunate.” Also he stated that the incident should be viewed seriously. In addition to speaking with Chief Minister Vijayan, Union Home Minister Amit Shah gave the National Security Guard (NSG) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) immediate instructions to arrive on the spot and begin an immediate investigation into the incident.
The blast happened in Zamra International Convention Centre, 10 kms away from the city centre, where over 2,000 people attended the prayer meet for the past three days.
DGP Shaik Darvesh Saheb, stated that – according to the preliminary investigation, the IED device might have been placed inside a tiffin box. Additional details will be provided later after further investigation. Intelligence team also confirmed that the police have found the CCTV footage of a car speeding just before the blast. Also the probe team suspects that the driver could be the person who planted the IED.
Additional DGP said that they are conducting a thorough investigation, and further steps have been taken to find out who is behind this and will take strict action. The NIA Kochi unit has arrived at the spot. And the Delhi NIA is expected to reach soon. An 8-member team from the NSG, an Indian Government’s Counterterrorism unit, is on its way to Kerala to investigate as well.
Police have sealed the entire hall where the blast occurred on Sunday morning. Bomb squad, Forensic Team, Fire Force, and the Fingerprint Experts arrived, detailed inspection is currently in progress.
Following the blast, Police have taken full control of the convention hall. The local authorities have arranged the transportation facilities for the people who attended the meeting. Also Police asked them to leave the spot immediately and their belongings inside the hall would be secured.
In the meantime, regarding the Kalamassery blast, police authorities have issued a warning – “severe actions will be taken on those who use social media to propagate false information on this incident.”
The injured were brought to the medical college in Kalamassery. Veena George, the Kerala Health Minister, has been instructed to arrange for necessary medical treatment of injured patients. All the physicians and nurses who are on leave, have been instructed to report for duty right away.
Additionally, the Health Minister has ordered that the burn team from Kottayam Medical College report straight away to Kalamassery Medical College.
Kerala state Governor “Arif Mohammed Khan” conveyed his heartfelt condolence to the kin of the deceased and prayers for speedy recovery of the injured.