Police probe bomb blasts that killed 2 in Kerala as suspect surrenders

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People stand outside a convention center where multiple blasts occurred during a religious gathering in Kochi, India, Oct 30.

KOCHI, India, Oct 30, (Agencies): Tragic events unfolded on Sunday in the southern Indian state of Kerala when homemade bombs were detonated during a Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering, resulting in the loss of two lives and causing injuries to numerous attendees. The incident has prompted an ongoing police investigation.

A man who identified himself as a former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has been taken into custody for questioning regarding his possible connection to the explosions. The blasts transpired during a convention of the religious group, with two women losing their lives and several others sustaining injuries. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan revealed in a press briefing that a second woman succumbed to her injuries. At least 17 individuals are in intensive care, with five of them listed in critical condition.

Health Minister Veena George reported that a 12-year-old girl, suffering from 95% burns, is also in a critical condition. The alleged perpetrator, Dominic Martin, initially claimed responsibility for the attacks in a Facebook video. Shortly thereafter, he surrendered himself at a police station in Thrissur district, located approximately 40 km (25 miles) from the site of the explosions.

The police have yet to formally arrest Dominic, but he remains in their custody. Pramod Kumar, the police public relations officer, stated, “We are still trying to ascertain the veracity of his statement; it will take some time. We are not in a position to confirm his involvement in the case right now, as the investigation is ongoing.”

The incident unfolded at a Jehovah’s Witnesses convention in Kalamassery, situated about 10 km (6 miles) northeast of Kochi city. TA Sreekumar, the regional spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, confirmed that Dominic Martin was not a registered member of the group. He further noted that approximately 2,300 individuals attended the three-day event, but it remains uncertain whether Martin was among the participants.

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