On Sunday morning (local time), one person was killed and thirty-six others were injured after an explosion rocked a Jehovah’s Witnesses convention in Kalamassery, Kerala, the Times of India reported.
According to local police, the blast was caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that may have been concealed in a tiffin box.
“The IED device might have been placed inside a tiffin box according to the preliminary investigation. More details will be received after further probe,” said the DGP.
Preliminary investigations suggest that there were three separate blasts within a few minutes of each other. The first blast occurred at approximately 9:40 a.m., just 30 minutes after the commencement of the prayer meeting.
Teams of the anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) and anti-terror probe agency National Investigation Agency (NIA), along with local law enforcement, have been dispatched to investigate the incident. The NIA’s involvement suggests that the authorities are treating this as a potential act of terrorism.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his concern over the incident, stating, “It’s a very unfortunate incident. We are collecting details regarding the incident. All top officials are there in Ernakulam. DGP is moving to the spot. We are taking it very seriously. I have spoken to DGP. We need to get more details after the investigation.”
4 bombs have exploded at a religious meeting in Kerala, India
Y-day, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal spoke directly online with a group of local Islamists from Jamaat-e-Islami about the Gaza War
The state of Kerala is 27% muslim, 18% Christian
1 killed, 40 wounded
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 29, 2023
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10 people sustained more than 50% burns, 5 out of 36 injured critical: Sources
Sources said a total of 36 people have been admitted to the hospital after receiving burn injuries while 5 of them are in a critical condition. 10 people have sustained more than 50% burns.
Tragic to see my state falling prey to destruction mentality: Shashi Tharoor on Kerala blast
Tweeting about the blast, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted saying he is “shocked and dismayed by the news of a bomb attack on a religious gathering in Kerala”. “I condemn it unreservedly demand swift police action. But that’s not enough. To see my state falling prey to the mentality of killing and destruction is tragic. I urge all religious leaders to unite in condemning such barbarism teaching their followers that violence achieves nothing but more violence,” Tharoor wrote in a post on social media platform X.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed the casualty figures and stressed the seriousness of the incident. He stated that an investigation is underway and further details will be available upon its completion. Disturbing scenes from the convention centre showed multiple fires and people in fear.
While the investigation is still ongoing, the nature and timing of the explosion raise questions about whether this was a targeted attack on the Christian community.
On Saturday, Khaled Meshaal, the chief of Hamas, engaged in an online dialogue with members of Jamaat-e-Islami, a local Islamist group in India, according to CNN-News 18.
4 bombs explode at a religious meeting in Kerala, India a day after Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal spoke online with a group of local Islamists from Jamaat-e-Islami about the Gaza War. The state of Kerala is 27% muslim
AQ ISIS are recruiting in Kerala
Khaled speaks?? pic.twitter.com/oSJ9l7g65G
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 29, 2023
On the same day as Meshaal’s online meeting, thousands of Indians took to the streets to protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza. According to reports, it is the largest pro-Palestine protest since the beginning of Israel’s siege on Gaza.
The demonstrators also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for strengthening India’s ties with Israel in recent years.
Biggest Rally in the world so far for Palestine. Kerala, India pic.twitter.com/yOyjarhqPy
— Faisal Abdulla (@faisalabdallah) October 27, 2023
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) October 28, 2023
According to the 2011 census, Kerala, where the pro-Palestine protests were particularly strong, has a diverse religious population:
- 54.73% Hindus
- 26.56% Muslims
- 18.38% Christians
- 0.33% Other religions or no religion
Islam is noted as the fastest-growing religion in India.
Source material can be found at this site.