Imphal blast near police hub kills 17

Read more below

By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Imphal
  • Published 21.10.08
  •  
A blast victim at RIMS in Imphal. Picture by Eastern Projections

Imphal, Oct. 21: A blast near a hub of security forces in Imphal killed 17 people and injured 20 this evening, two days after a grenade explosion near the chief minister’s office.

The bomb was fitted to a two-wheeler popularly called a moped.

Police suspect that the headquarters of 20 Assam Rifles, and the Manipur police commando complex 200 metres away, where personnel live with their families, were the targets. It is not yet known if any security personnel died.

The bomb went off close to a cluster of people at Ragailong village playing a game of dice called lagao.

The police said 11 people died on the spot and six in hospital. The victims were taken to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and a private hospital.

Baidyanath Prasad, whose paan shop is close to the blast site, wept at the RIMS when he saw the headless torso of his 20-year-old son.

“My son went near the lagao venue to relieve himself. He was innocent. Why should anyone kill innocents like Raju?” Prasad said.

K. Mangle Singh of Minuthong, which is close to Ragailong, looked worried. “My son Rajen Singh has not returned home. I could not get him on his mobile phone; he did not take the call. So I came here to see if he is wounded.”

The site was strewn with mangled and torn limbs. Body parts had been flung 20 feet away.

No group has claimed responsibility yet. The People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, which claimed to be behind Sunday’s grenade explosion near chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s office complex, denied any role in today’s blast.

A resident of Ragailong said many people had gathered at the site for gambling, which picks up ahead of Diwali. He said people from other parts of the state too came to the place to gamble.

The police suspect the bomb was fitted to a timer. Director-general of police Yumnam Joykumar Singh said the bomb could have been planted on the two-wheeler, which was smashed to pieces.

“I was in my room when I heard a loud bang. I thought the explosion had happ- ened inside our complex,” a Manipur police commando said.

A doctor at the RIMS, while cleaning a blast victim’s wounds, said: “This is the second time after the Iskcon blast that so many injured people have been brought to the hospital. We are struggling to attend to all these patients.”

The Iskcon blast, which happened two years ago, had killed four devotees and wounded more than 50 on Janmashtami.

Ibobi Singh and several ministers came to see the injured and console relatives.