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Kerala’s Kalamassery Bomb Blast: 1 Dead and 36 Injured

On October 29, 2023. An incident occurred when multiple explosions rocked a prayer meeting at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Kalamassery, Ernakulam district, Kerala. The incident claimed one life and left dozens injured.

Kerala's Kalamassery Bomb Blast: 1 Dead and 36 Injured

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On a Sunday morning at approximately 9:30 am, as the sunlit the skies over Kalamassery, nearly 2,500 people had gathered at the convention center.

They were part of a regional convention organized by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian religious group. As the congregation joined in prayer, an catastrophe unfolded.

Eyewitnesses described a sudden and deafening explosion that tore through the convention center. The impact was devastating, leaving the attendees in a shock and confusion.

Smoke quickly filled the venue, making it difficult for people to see and breathe, and panic ensued as they struggled to find safety.

The incident resulted in loss of life and a large number of casualties. Initial reports indicated that one woman had tragically lost her life, and over 36 people were injured.

Some of those injured were in critical condition and had to be rushed to nearby hospitals for medical attention.

The local police and fire rescue teams, swiftly responded to the scene to provide assistance and ensure the safety of those present.

The injured were transported to various hospitals, including Aster Medicity, Rajagiri, and Sunrise, for treatment.

The Kerala Police immediately started an investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the explosions and to identify those responsible.

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Preliminary investigations suggested that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were used in the attack. The use of IEDs indicated a premeditated act of violence, raising concerns about the motives behind the attack.

A man named Dominic Martin claimed responsibility for the blasts and surrendered to the Kerala Police shortly after the incident.

Martin asserted that he had been a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses but had become disillusioned with the group’s teachings, leading him to commit this violent act.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) were called in to provide expertise and assistance in the ongoing investigation.

The presence of these national agencies highlighted the seriousness of the situation and the need to thoroughly examine all aspects of the case.

Political leaders from across the spectrum voiced their condemnation and concern. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called it “very unfortunate” and announced the formation of a special 20-member team to investigate the blast.

He also called for an all-party meeting to discuss the situation and address the concerns about law and order.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan expressed his shock and termed the incident a “horrific tragedy.” He emphasized that such acts had no place in a democratic and law-abiding society, stressing the importance of maintaining law and order.

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Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar criticized the Chief Minister, accusing him of “appeasement politics” and citing his response to the incident.

Chandrasekhar’s sparked a political debate, reflecting the divisions in the state’s political landscape. Religious leaders and organizations also responded to the incident.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, the group at the center of the attack, expressed their shock and grief over the incident.

They emphasized that the attack was unexpected and that they were cooperating fully with the authorities in their investigations.

The incident raised questions about religious freedom and tolerance in the state. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have faced scrutiny in the past due to their unconventional beliefs and practices, and the attack underscored the need for a dialogue on religious diversity and tolerance in Kerala.

In the aftermath of the explosions, both Delhi and Mumbai were placed on high alert. Security agencies in these cities heightened surveillance and security measures, recognizing for copycat incidents or related threats.

The incident also sparked concerns among the public. People were left questioning the safety of attending religious gatherings and events, particularly in the context of rising tensions within the state.

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