NIA to probe Kerala serial blasts at Jehovah's Witnesses convention; Amit Shah speaks to CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Ernakulam: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will now conduct the probe into the Kerala serial blast incident that occurred at a Christian religious prayer gathering of 2,000 people, and a unit from the National Security Guard has been sent to the site, media reported
The explosion occurred during a Jehovah's Witnesses convention at the Kalamassery center located in Kerala's Ernakulam district, nearly 10 km from Kochi.
The first blast occurred at 9:47 am amid the prayer gathering on Sunday which was the concluding day of the three-day assembly that commenced on October 27, reported NDTV.
At least 1 dead, several injured in blast at Jehovah's Witnesses' meet in Kerala's Ernakulam. pic.twitter.com/M0vJambnkS— India Blooms (@indiablooms) October 29, 2023
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the explosions as "unfortunate" and said that the incident is a matter of great concern. All high-ranking police officers in the state have rushed to the explosion site.
Following the series of explosions, Home Minister Amit Shah spoke with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan via telephone.
Shah directed the heads of the NIA and NSG, two central agencies with expertise in counterterrorism investigations and operations, to send their specialised teams to the location to initiate an investigation.
Kerala Police stated that an Improvised Explosive Device was used in the attack, adding that a special investigative team would be set up to probe the incident.
Sources revealed that the explosives were concealed within a lunchbox.
Hibi Eden, the Member of Parliament for Kalamassery said that the first explosion occurred in the middle of the hall.
He said that the group had a well-prepared evacuation plan that was swiftly executed following the initial blast, which helped prevent a bigger casualty.
"Luckily, they had an evacuation plan. Every time the group meets, they discuss and prepare an evacuation plan. But there was a lot of smoke, which led to a stampede," Eden told NDTV.
a member of the group told ANI: "It was an accident. We all rushed out. That's all that we know. And we all rushed out. Got everybody to safety. That's all we can say is this now. We're going to meet the officers so we'll know what the situation is."
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