October 29, 2023

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Kochi blasts: Premeditated act, likely use of IEDs, say investigators as they explore multiple angles | India News

2 min read

The blasts that rocked a convention centre in Kochi where a prayer meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses was being held were likely part of a premeditated act involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs), investigation officials have told The Indian Express.

There were three blasts, with the first occurring at around 9.30 am and two others taking place in the next 10 minutes, officials said.

“Preliminary investigation shows it was an IED bomb, and we are examining it,” Kerala DGP Sheikh Darvesh Sahib said.

The explosions resulted in one fatality and left 36 injured, with five suffering severe burn injuries.

According to senior officers of the National Investigation Agency and the Kerala Police, key evidence discovered at the site, including fragments of a tiffin box and wire, and what seemed like remnants of a suitcase, pointed to a premeditated act.

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“While it’s premature to pinpoint the exact cause of the blast, the current evidence leans toward the use of IEDs. A deeper examination of the explosive materials will provide further clarity,” said a senior investigator.

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The investigation is exploring multiple angles. One of the factors adding to the complexity of the investigation is a rally that took place at Malappuram on Friday. This gathering was virtually addressed by former Hamas chief, Khaled Meshaal, in support of Palestinians in the context of the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Both state and central intelligence agencies have started examining this event, it is learnt.

Simultaneously, agencies are also examining the evolving religious dynamics in Kerala – friction between traditional religions and newer churches, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The rise of these new-generation churches, known for their lively prayer sessions infused with songs, dance, and deep spiritual passion, has instigated a shift in religious affiliations over the past decade,” an officer said.

This shift is not limited to rural areas or poor populations. “Even in urban centres like Ernakulam, individuals, including those from affluent traditional churches and even from different religions, are being captivated by these fresh religious experiences, often distancing themselves from their own traditional faith,” the officer said.

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