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CIMA Gallary

Imphal blast in alert zone
- Caught unawares

Imphal, Sept. 5: Militants breached the security cordon in the heart of Imphal city this morning, exploding a powerful bomb.

Two Assam Rifles personnel were injured in the incident. The condition of one of them is stated to be critical. The site of the blast is merely 300 metres from Raj Bhavan.

Police said the bomb, fitted onto a scooter that was parked in front of a community hall-cum-temple auditorium at Keishampat crossing, exploded around 8.45am. The improvised device was detonated by a remote control device, the police said.

The site of the blast is very close to Keishampat-Wahengbam Leikai Road which is usually a busy stretch. Assam Rifles personnel regularly patrol the road and sometimes jawans sit by the roadside near the site of the blast.

The police suspect that militants could have planted the bomb to target the Assam Rifles patrol party.

The two injured personnel are havildar Rajendra and rifleman Birendra of 28 Assam Rifles post at Chinga in Imphal West. They were admitted to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences where doctors said the condition of Rajendra is serious.

Three vehicles parked nearby were also damaged by bomb splinters.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast. Following the incident, police, Assam Rifles personnel and bomb experts checked vehicles and two wheelers parked nearby, but no one has been arrested yet. “I was passing by the area when I heard a loud sound. I saw some security personnel fall and others running towards them. I fled the scene in fear. Later I came to know that it was a bomb explosion,” Rameshore Singh, a resident of the area, said.

Security agencies are on high alert to prevent any backlash of the fleeing of Manipuri students and workers staying in other cities. Though most of them have returned to their places of study and jobs, security measures remain tight in the city where the highest number of non-Manipuris live.

The police and the Assam Rifles personnel declined comment. Security measures have been tightened and vehicles are being checked.

Local MLA L. Ibomcha Singh condemned the blast. “This is a residential area. Had there been many people around, they would have been killed,” Ibomcha Singh said.

This is the first bomb attack by militants in Imphal city after the November 30 blast in which one rickshawpuller, who was unknowingly carrying the bomb, was killed. The blast took place three days ahead of visits by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to the city.