IMPHAL, November 30: A rickshaw puller was killed and two other by-standers injured when a powerful IED exploded in front of the main venue of the “Manipur Sangai festival 2011” Hafta Kangjeibung, Palace compound, today.
The blast happened just three days ahead of the proposed visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on December 3.
The palace compound is also house to the City Convention Centre and Manipur Film Development Corporation, which will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
Police sources informed that the blast occurred around 11 am when a rickshaw puller carrying a parcel approached the entrance gate of the venue of the “Manipur Sangai festival”.
The blast took place just a few metres away from the main entrance gate of the festival.
The blast ripped off the lower part (from the waist) of the rickshaw puller and injured two other women.
The deceased victim has been identified as Md. Kora, 55, s/o (L) Ibobi of Mayang Imphal Umang Leikai at present staying at a rented house at Hatta, a riskshaw puller.
The injured victims were identified as one Chabungbam Vidyabati, 24, d/o (L) Birhari of Awang Khunou, a security guard on duty at the festival and Yumnam Bala, 50, w/o Rajendra of Konthoujam Awang Leikai, a stall keeper inside the Manipur Sangai festival.
The police further asserted that the rickshaw puller was still conscious when they rushed to the blast site.
It has been further informed that the rickshaw puller before succumbing to his injury disclosed to the police that he was hired by an individual identifying himself as a member of KCP and paid him Rs 20 to deliver the package at the “Manipur Sangai festival”. He however failed to mention the faction of the group.
The injured rickshaw puller was rushed to the JNIMS by the police however succumbed to his injury there.
A team of forensic and bomb experts inspected the blast site after the incident. Moreover additional police team arrived at the blast area and conducted a massive search operation in and around the area including inside the venue of the Manipur Sangai festival.
Tourism minister, TN Haokip, DGP Y. Joykumar, tourism commissioner, KK Chettri also arrived at the spot.
Speaking to media persons, Tourism minister termed the attacked as unfortunate. “Had the blast taken place during the rushed hour the casualty could have been worst” said the minister.
The normal functioning of the festival however was disrupted for several hours due to the blast. Security measures were beefed up after the blast.
It is worth mentioning that the KCP-MC has called a three days general strike since 10 am of November 28, to protest against the killing of one of its cadres by security forces in an alleged encounter which took place November 20 near Sora in Thoubal district during which Thoubal district commandos claimed to have shot dead one KCP-MC cadre during a gun-fight.