| Doctors at RIMS in Imphal tend to a man who was injured in the blast at Nagamapal on Friday night. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, Sept. 14: Police today identified the device that exploded yesterday at Nagamapal here and killed nine migrant labourers as a Chinese hand grenade.
Five labourers had died on the spot yesterday and three more at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) when an explosion ripped through their makeshift shed, built on a slab over the Naga nullah, around 7.40 last evening. The ninth, who died at Shija Hospitals and Research Institute late last night, was among the 13 labourers injured in the blast.
The police had yesterday attributed the blast to the remote detonation of an IED device planted inside the shed when the labourers were out at work.
But today, after getting reports from bomb experts, they said a Chinese hand grenade was dropped inside the shed when the labourers were about to have dinner. “It was a Chinese hand grenade, which is very powerful. It was dropped into the shed through the bamboo mat wall,” a senior police officer said.
The remaining 12 injured are being treated at RIMS and Shija Hospitals. The condition of one of the four admitted to Shija Hospitals, according to doctors, is critical.
In a statement issued today, Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh condemned the attack, calling it “inhuman and cowardly”.
“The government has viewed the attack on the migrant labourers very seriously and those responsible would not be spared,” the statement said.
The government also announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh for the next of kin of each of the nine deceased labourers, financial assistance of Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries.
The police have strengthened security measures in and around the capital in light of the blasts at Nagamapal and Khurai on the outskirts.
An autorickshaw driver had sustained minor injuries in an IED attack carried out around 10.30am by Peoples Liberation Army at Khurai, allegedly targeting members of an Assam Rifles foot patrol.
No one, however, has claimed responsibility for the attack on the labourers.
“We have established some leads into yesterday’s attack on the labourers. But it is too early to disclose the progress of the investigation,” director-general of police M.K. Das told The Telegraph.
The bodies of the nine deceased labourers were flown to Guwahati this afternoon. All were from Kamrup and Goalpara districts of Assam and aged between 21 and 35 years.
Kamrup deputy commissioner J. Balaji told The Telegraph that bodies of seven labourers from the district had reached Guwahati this evening. Those of the two labourers from Goalpara district have also arrived.
“Civil and police officials are making arrangements to send the bodies home,” he said.
“I am in constant touch with Manipur government to know the exact number of labourers from my district injured in the blast and currently undergoing treatment at Imphal.”