Blast at convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in Kerala's Kalamassery; 1 dead, several injured
A major blast took place at a convention centre in Kalamassery, Ernakulam during a meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses. The explosion killed one and several others were injured. According to reports, seven people are admitted to the ICU and two are critical.
Kochi: An explosion rocked a convention centre in Kalamassery in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, claiming a person's life and injuring over 25 others. The cause of the explosion, which went off at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday (Oct 29) is not yet known. The injured have been shifted to Kalamassery Medical College.
As many as 35 people are undergoing treatment and seven people are admitted to the ICU Two are reportedly in critical condition. According to preliminary information from police sources, traces of low-intensity explosives have been found. Latest reports suggest that IED bombs brought in tiffin boxes exploded as its traces have been found.
The explosion took place during a meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses. According to eyewitnesses, around 2,000 people had been participating in the religious congregation when the explosion went off. Fire force personnel and senior police officials are on the explosion site.
According to some eyewitnesses, there were multiple explosions heard. The convention centre had five doors and as soon as the blast took place, people started running in panic.Three people are reportedly in critical condition and are seeking treatment at Kalamassery Medical Hospital following the explosion, including one child, a mother, and a man. The child is seeking treatment with a ventilator.
According to Fire Force personnel, the casualties are likely to go up. They have recovered a charred body from the explosion site. The state's Anti-Terrorism Squad has reached Kalamasserry.
The convention had been on for the last three days. Today was the last day of the convention.
Health Minister Veena George directed the Director of the Health Department and Director of the Medical Education Department to provide better treatment in the case of the explosion in Kalamasery. All the hospitals have been alerted. The minister directed all health workers, including doctors, who are on leave to return immediately. Instructions were also given to prepare additional facilities at Kalamasery Medical College, Ernakulam General Hospital and Kottayam Medical College. Additional staffing will also be provided. The minister also directed to provide facilities in other hospitals of the district.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said, "Shocked to hear about the blast at a religious gathering at #Kalamassery, Ernakulam district, Kerala, killing one person and injuring over 20. Heartfelt condolences to the kin of the deceased and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured."
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the explosion in Kalamassery was an extremely unfortunate incident. Other details are being verified. Police officials from Ernakulam have reached the spot. The DGP has set off to Ernakulam. The Chief Minister said that other matters are being collected.
The convention was organized by Thomas John, a circuit overseer of Jehovah's Witnesses. He is a resident of Kathirapally and a native of Attappadi.
Centre monitoring situation
The Central government is also monitoring the situation and has sought information from the authorities. The preliminary report of the state police is awaited. The Centre has directed to check the possibility of a terrorist attack. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrived in Kalamassery for probe.