Prayer meet blast in Kerala: One killed, several injured
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Prayer meet blast in Kerala: One killed, several injured

October 29, 2023

Amit Shah calls for NIA, NSG probe

Kochi: Kerala Police are put on high alert after a series of blasts at a Sunday prayer convention of the Christian denomination Jehovah’s Witnesses which killed one person and injured over two dozen, a few of them critically, near Kochi in Kerala.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media the incident was unfortunate and the Police have taken it very seriously.

“Senior officials, including the State DGP, have moved to Kochi. Among the injured, the condition of two is serious,” he said.

The incident happened at Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering at Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre at Kalamassery, near Kochi, where around 2,500 faithful from across the State had gathered for a prayer session.

Eyewitnesses told reporters the blasts happened in the middle of the convention centre. The first blast among the many explosions occurred around 9.30 am minutes after the day’s prayer session began.

People who were present at the convention centre told the media that the first blast occurred in the middle of a prayer. Kerala DGP later said preliminary investigation shows it is an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) blast, with a “tiffin box” suspected to have been used to store it.

Senior Police officials have rushed to the spot and put the entire force on alert across Kerala.

The Police have sealed the convention centre and have begun investigation to ascertain the causes of the blasts.

NIA and NSG teams head to Kerala

Teams of the anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) and anti-terror probe agency National Investigation Agency (NIA) are being sent to Kerala following a directive from Union Home Minister Amit Shah to assist the Kerala Government.

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“The Home Minister spoke to the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take stock of the situation after the blast. The Chief Minister briefed the home minister about the incident,” a source said.

Meanwhile, Delhi has been put on high alert after the Kerala blast incident. Instructions have been issued to increase security of all churches in Delhi, sources said.

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