|Policemen and bomb experts inspect the blast site in Imphal on Friday. (PTI)
Imphal, Oct. 18: Suspected militants exploded an improvised explosive device at Mahatma Gandhi Avenue, a business hub, here early this morning. However, no one was injured.
Police said an IED planted by the roadside was detonated by suspected militants using a remote-controlled device today at 4am.
The site of the blast is about 200 metres from Imphal city police station.
“As there was no vehicular traffic or pedestrian at the time of the blast, damage was minimal. The impact of the blast, however, shattered window panes of a three-storey building nearby,” a senior police officer, who inspected the spot, later said.
Mahatma Gandhi Avenue, on the northern side of the city, is a commercial hub where non-Manipuris run business enterprises and do brisk business.
The police, however, could not pinpoint who the target was. “It could be the handiwork of militants to demonstrate their presence. We cannot say whether non-Manipuris were the targets,” the police officer said.
This is the second blast in Imphal city since September 13, when suspected militants exploded a grenade inside a workshed of labourers engaged for covering a drain at Nagamapal, a commercial-cum-residential area of the city. Nine labourers were killed. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast at Nagamapal and today’s blasts.
“I was in the bathroom when I heard sound of an explosion. I thought it could be a cracker as crackers are burst even after Durga Puja. Later, I saw policemen coming and then came to know that it was a bomb,” a non-Manipuri businessman of the area who did not want to be named, said.
He said non-Manipuri street vendors sell eatable items like omelettes at the blast site daily in afternoon and in the evening.
“The blast created panic among the residents and businessmen of the area. We want the police to intensify patrol. It is fortunate that no one was injured,” he said.
The blast took place despite heavy police deployment in the city and along Mahatma Gandhi Avenue for concentration of non-Manipuri business families.