The Kerala government has announced financial aid of Rs. 5 lakhs from the Chief Minister Distress Relief Fund to the people who lost their family members in the Kalamassery prayer-meet blasts which happened last month. The government also announced that medical expenses for the injured persons receiving treatment, even in private hospitals, will also be covered.
Five people have died and over 50 people are severely injured in the blasts. Following the death of a woman on November 12, the State Health Department constituted a special Medical Board to monitor the health status of those injured. The deceased woman was identified as 45-year-old Sally Pradeep, mother of the 12-year-old girl, Libna, who had died earlier. Pradeep's son is also injured and in critical condition at the hospital.
The other deceased persons are Leyona Paulose (55), Kumari Pushpan (53), and Molly Joy Mathews (62).
The Blasts That Shook Kerala
Multiple blasts took place at a Christian religious gathering held at a convention centre in Kalamassery, located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala.
The explosions occurred as a large group of Jehovah's Witnesses, a Christian minority group, came together on the final day of their three-day prayer session.
BREAKING 🚨‼️🇮🇳 🇵🇸 Three Blasts at a convention centre during prayer meeting attended by 2000 people, in Ernakulam, Kerala State of India. The locality is known to have significant Jewish population.— The Macro Story (@themacrostory) October 29, 2023
- 25 + Casualties reported
- Explosion in a convention of Jehovah's Witnesses… pic.twitter.com/EdswNeNtAv
Eight Things To Know
1. The Accused
A man allegedly named Dominic Martin has taken responsibility for the explosions. In a video reportedly posted on the social media platform, he explains his motives behind the act. He stated that he made this decision because he believed the organisation's teachings to be "seditious."
2. Legal Proceedings
Martin will be produced in front of the Principal District and Sessions Court in Kochi on October 30. The police filed a First Information Report (FIR) on the same day as the blast, charging the accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
3. Kerala CM Takes Notice
The Chief Minister's Office of Kerala has issued financial aid to all the victims of the blasts, including the injured persons being treated in private hospitals.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressing his condolences said, "This is a regrettable incident. We are in the process of gathering information about the event. We are treating the matter with the utmost seriousness."
A team of 20 members will be responsible for the investigation of the series of explosions, informed CM Vijayan.
#WATCH | Kalamassery blast: An all-party meeting chaired by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan is underway at the Chief Minister's Conference Hall in the Secretariat, in Thiruvananthapuram.— ANI (@ANI) October 30, 2023
Three people died in an explosion that took place yesterday at Zamra International Convention &… pic.twitter.com/XONIPM8aOe
4. Centre Takes Action
Upon the directive of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) were dispatched to Kerala to provide support to the local law enforcement agencies in their investigation.
According to reports by India Today, this team comprises individuals from the National Bomb Data Center.
5. Link To Hamas?
BJP leader and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar connected the series of explosions in Kerala to a virtual speech by a Hamas leader during a protest event in the state. Two cases have been filed against him for inciting communal violence. Over 20 cases have been filed against media channels and social media accounts for disseminating misinformation. Several social media posts have also been flagged or taken down.
He stated, "Just 24 hours after a Hamas leader was provided a platform to promote jihad, Kerala experienced these blasts."
#WATCH | On explosion at the Convention Centre in Kalamassery, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar says, " It is very sad to hear about this blasts targeting Christian community...it is very depressing...I hold the Kerala govt responsible for this because just yesterday they… pic.twitter.com/KHXeLjs3Oh— ANI (@ANI) October 29, 2023
6. Opposition Sprung Into Action
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has called for a thorough investigation into any possible links with the Palestine issue.
M.V. Govindan, the State Secretary, emphasized the gravity of the situation and the necessity of a comprehensive inquiry. He called for a united condemnation of such incidents, involving both the state government and the public.
7. Police Investigation Underway
According to the Kerala Police, the blasts were made using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), with the explosives concealed within a lunchbox.
An FIR has been filed against unidentified individuals has also been filed under IPC Sections 302 (pertaining to murder) and 307 (pertaining to attempted murder), along with provisions of the Explosives Act and the UAPA.
8. High Alert Issued
A few hours following the explosions, which created shock across the nation, Delhi and Mumbai have been placed under heightened vigilance.
In light of the festive season and upcoming cricket matches, the Mumbai Police has issued a high alert. Meanwhile, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police is maintaining continuous communication with intelligence agencies and treating any received information with utmost seriousness.
Suggested Reading: Bengaluru Police Detains Sacked Driver In Geologist Murder: Case So Far