IMPHAL, December 21: Atleast three civilians were killed and four others injured when a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded at a roadside tea stall at Khoyathong early this morning around 5:45. This is the second blast within the high security zone of Imphal in less than a week since the December 15 blast at MG Avenue which killed two and injured four others.
At the time of the explosion, the tea-stall was packed with morning customers.
According to eye witness accounts, the bomb exploded from a make-up box which was brought along by two youths who seemed to be in their early 30s. The duo had tea at the stall and left the box while leaving. The box exploded within minutes of their leaving the place.
The blast site falls under the jurisdiction of Imphal Police Station.
It is worth noting that the blast site is generally teeming with security personnel as it is just about a kilometer from the State Assembly building where the Winter session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly is on.
The dead victims have been identified as Shrikusunt, 60, of Barwapati village, Kusinagar Uttar Pradesh; Lalan, 35, son of Tikori of Dasahawa, Kusinagar District Uttar Pradesh, Shiva Yadav, 35, son of Harihar Yadav of Rampur Barahan Kusinagar UP.
Lalan succumbed to injuries on the way to the hospital while Shiva died at the RIMS hospital.
Shrikusunt, a helper at the tea stall was killed on the spot.
The injured evacuated at RIMS have been identified as Chophathung Lotha, 50, son of Khola Lotha of Makola, Wokha district Nagaland, bus conductor of NST, Surendar, 19, son of Ramashis of Kusinagar UP at present Khoyathong; Rajkumar, 30, son of Indrajit of UP at present Khoyathong and Jina, 58 son of Lorik of Rampur Baranagar, UP.
Soon after the blast, top police brass including IG Clay Khongsai, DIG range-I IK Muivah and SP Imphal West rushed to the blast site and took stock of the situation.
On the other hand, deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam visited the injured victims at RIMS accompanied by DGP Manipur Sahid Ahmed, ADGP, LM Khoute, principal secretary (Home), J Suresh Babu.
The team also visited the blast site prior to the RIMS.