In the aftermath of a devastating series of explosions that shook a gathering of approximately 2,000 members of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Kalamassery, central Kerala, disturbing revelations came to light. A man named Martin Dominic emerged as the prime suspect, taking to social media to claim responsibility for the horrific act that resulted in three fatalities and 50 injuries. Dominic, who had severed ties with the sect, cited their alleged "propagation of anti-national sentiments" as the reason behind his heinous actions. Subsequently, he surrendered to the authorities, offering a trail of evidence that made the case seemingly clear-cut for investigators.
However, the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) concealed within shopping bags to trigger the explosions prompted the State to establish a special investigation team to explore all potential angles, including the possibility of a solitary renegade mission. The National Investigation Agency and National Security Guard have also begun investigative work.
Amidst the tragedy and unfolding investigations, what is even more concerning is the wave of speculation and communal unrest that emerged. In the hours following the blasts and Martin's surrender, social media became a breeding ground for divisive posts loaded with insinuations and baseless accusations, creating an environment of communal tension. Regrettably, some individuals, including a Union Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson, opted to fan communal discord's flames instead of supporting a fair and impartial inquiry. Painting an entire Indian state in a certain light based on a tragic incident is both unjust and counterproductive, as rightfully emphasised by the Chief Minister of Kerala.
The police have, based on credible evidence, recorded Martin's arrest and charged him under various sections, including the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. While justice must take its course, the notion that a seemingly mild-mannered individual with no history of violence could resort to cold-blooded mass murder under the banner of "anti-nationalism" highlights a deep-rooted societal issue. This act does not appear to be the product of a mentally unstable person.
The Main Suspect: Martin Dominic
Martin Dominic, the primary suspect in the serial blasts at a prayer meeting in Kerala, has claimed to have acquired bomb-making knowledge from the internet. This 48-year-old individual, known for his expertise in electronic circuits, purportedly spent approximately ₹3,000 to create the explosive devices. He had been living with his family in a rented accommodation near Kochi for over five years, having previously worked as a foreman in the Gulf, where he gained the skills necessary to assemble electronic devices.
Just two months before the blasts, Martin returned to India with the intent to carry out his sinister plan. Preliminary investigations indicate that the IEDs used in the blasts contained low-grade explosives commonly found in firecrackers. Martin assembled these devices in his own home.
Before surrendering, Martin posted a video message on a social media platform in which he explained his motives. He claimed to have taken this drastic step due to what he perceived as the organization's "seditious" teachings that negatively impacted the nation. In the video, he expressed his efforts to bring these concerns to the organization's attention, which went unheeded. According to Martin, his ultimate decision to engineer the serial blasts was born out of his conviction that this community posed a threat to the nation.
The Horrific Incident
The series of blasts occurred at a convention centre in Kalamassery, near Kochi, where a gathering of approximately 2,000 people from the Jehovah's Witnesses was taking place. The first explosion took place shortly after the commencement of a prayer meeting, triggering a chaotic scene. While the group had an evacuation plan in place, the presence of smoke led to a stampede, causing further injuries.
Tragically, two women and a 12-year-old girl lost their lives, and more than 50 individuals sustained injuries. A 53-year-old woman who was critically wounded also succumbed to her injuries later, bringing the death toll to three. As of October 30, 21 people remained under treatment for injuries, with 16 of them in the ICU, including three in severely critical condition.
In response to the horrific incident and the subsequent communal tension, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, convened an all-party meeting to address the situation. The meeting emphasized the importance of avoiding baseless accusations, speculation, and rumor-mongering.
High alert measures were implemented in Delhi and Mumbai, as a precautionary step, following the Kerala blasts. The Delhi Police heightened security in crowded areas and churches across the capital to ensure public safety.
The tragic events in Kalamassery serve as a sombre reminder of the potential consequences of communal discord and the importance of maintaining unity in times of adversity. While justice must be served through a thorough investigation and legal proceedings, we must avoid rushing to conclusions and making baseless accusations that further divide our society. Instead, let us stand together in solidarity and support one another during these challenging times.
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