Kalamassery Blast: 12-Year-Old Girl Succumbs to Blast Injuries
On October 29, 2023, a devastating bomb blast occurred during a gathering of Jehovah’s Witnesses at a private convention center in Kalamassery, Kerala. This tragic incident resulted in the loss of lives and left dozens injured. The toll from the blast continued to rise as one young victim, a 12-year-old girl, tragically succumbed to her injuries in the early hours of Monday.
Kalamassery Blast Claims Young Victim
The bomb blast in Kalamassery town shook the local community, and the toll climbed to three as a 12-year-old girl lost her battle against severe injuries. The young victim was identified as Libina from Malayattoor in Ernakulam district. She was admitted to the Kalamassery Government Medical College Hospital with burns covering a staggering 95% of her body.
Despite medical efforts and ventilator support, her condition continued to deteriorate, leading to her untimely death at 12:40 am.
The Tragic Event
The horrific incident unfolded during a gathering of Jehovah’s Witnesses at a private convention center in Kalamassery. The bomb blast claimed the lives of two individuals and inflicted injuries on over 50 others. It was a devastating moment that left the community in shock and mourning.
Hours after the attack, a man named Dominic Martin came forward and claimed responsibility for the blast. Astonishingly, he declared himself as a member of the religious group but cited anger at some of its teachings as the motive behind the attack.
The Blast and Investigation
The attack was executed using an improvised explosive device (IED). In response to this grave situation, teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard were dispatched to the incident site.
The blast itself occurred around 9:30 am while approximately 2,500 people were in the midst of a prayer. Survivors recalled terrifyingly loud explosions and a “fireball” that erupted within the convention center. Smoke quickly enveloped the large gathering, causing panic as people scrambled for safety.
Among those who lost their lives on that fateful day, 53-year-old Kumari, who had suffered 90% burns, succumbed to her injuries while receiving treatment at the government medical college. The other victim, who was closest to the explosion, tragically perished at the blast site.
Investigative Findings and Reactions
Preliminary investigations at the blast site indicate the use of a timer-based low-intensity IED to target the congregation. Investigators have noted that there were no shrapnel traces designed to amplify the blast’s impact. However, the IED was placed in proximity to an oil container, further intensifying the resulting fire. Authorities have expressed that they are not ruling out the possibility of a terror-related motive behind the attack.
The incident provoked strong reactions from political leaders across the spectrum, with condemnation of the blast and its tragic consequences. The opposition, notably the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), criticized the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government for the perceived deterioration in the state’s law and order situation.
In response to the tragedy, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the formation of a special 20-member team to investigate the blast. He also called for an all-party meeting to address the issue. In his statement, he described the incident in Kalamassery as “very unfortunate.”
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan expressed his condolences, referring to the deaths and injuries as a horrific tragedy. He underlined that such occurrences were unacceptable in a democracy and a society that upholds the rule of law. This tragic event in Kalamassery continues to be a subject of deep sorrow and concern for the nation.
In his statement during a press briefing in Kochi, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar strongly criticized Kerala CM Vijayan’s comments, stating that accusations of the BJP being communal or having links with organizations like the SDPI, PFI, and Hamas are false. He expressed pride in the BJP’s lack of connections with these groups.
In response to Chandrasekhar’s remarks, Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his disapproval, emphasizing the importance of respecting ongoing investigations into the recent blasts in Kerala. These blasts were triggered by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) during a prayer meeting attended by approximately 2,000 people. Home Minister Amit Shah directed NIA and NSG teams to investigate the incident.