Kerala blasts: Kochi resident claiming responsibility surrenders before police; 2 killed

Kerala blasts: Kochi resident claiming responsibility surrenders before police; 2 killed


Kochi, Oct 29 (IANS) A Kerala resident has surrendered before the police, claiming responsibility for the blasts that rocked a Christian convention centre in Kalamassery on Sunday.

Dominic Martin walked into a police station at Trissur and owned up the crime, said the police, saying did it "because Jehovah Witness was on the wrong track".

Jehovah Witnesses are a group of Christians who do not identify themselves as Protestants. 

The Jehovah Witness Convention is an annual gathering where large assemblies called Regional Conventions take place which are held for three days. 

The event had started last Friday and it was supposed to end on Sunday. 

Martin claimed that he had planted the bomb which resulted in the death of a woman and left 40 people injured. 

Two persons have died while some are said to be in critical condition.

One of the deceased has been identified as Kumari, a 53-year-old woman. She had suffered 90 per cent burn injuries.

Meanwhile, another who died earlier in the day is yet to be identified. 

According to officials, a high alert has been sounded in Kerala after the blasts. 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed a team of NSG and NIA to rush to Kochi. 

The investigation into the multiple bomb blasts revealed that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) kept in a tiffin box was used to trigger the explosion. 

Martin lives in Kochi at a rented accommodation and returned from Dubai a month ago. He was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Moments before he walked into the police station, he appeared Live on Facebook, saying: "I take up the entire responsibility (of the blasts)... it was I who did it. I was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. For the last six years, I was under duress.

"I was trying my best to tell that those behind this congregation and the ideology was totally wrong and against the country." 

He further said: "I tried to tell those concerned that corrections should be made but all my attempts failed. So I did this (referring to blasts). I take up the responsibility. 

After this Facebook Live, I am going straight to the police station and will surrender. I appeal to the media not to reveal much details of how I did it (planned and executed the blasts) as it could be done by any." 

Meanwhile, ADGP of Kerala Police M.R. Ajith Kumar confirmed that Martin came on his own and surrendered before the police. 

"He claimed to be a member of this congregation and we have got evidence to what he has said so far," Ajith Kumar said.

Meanwhile, the police recovered his mobile which includes visuals of his statements. 

His wife and daughter had no clue of Martin's plans, and it was only after his name was flashed (in the news), they came to know know what happened. 

According to sources, Martin left his home early on Sunday morning around 5 a.m. 

His landlord said that a few days ago Martin brought a stove, while describing him as "by and large a quiet person". 

Martin was working in Dubai for the last six years. 

Currently, Kerala Police, NIA and NSG personnel are involved in the probe into the incident.

In all, about 35 people was injured in around three hospitals near here and the condition of a three are serious and in the ventilator, while the condition of the others is reported to be out of danger. 

The police have, meanwhile, learnt that for the last several weeks, Martin was trying to learn how to make explosives, and from where he sourced the materials. 

A person attached to the congregation said Martin has never been an active member but used to come "on and off". 

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called an all-party meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday to discuss the issue. 

On Sunday evening, Vijayan met the media soon after arriving from Delhi. He warned of action against those spreading misinformation on social media. 

"The perpetrators of the crime will be taken to task and what was surprising was that some sections tried to give a wrong impression and it included even Union Ministers. At the moment the Kerala Police are probing the case and a special team has been announced to probe the case," the CM said.

Around 2,000 people had gathered for prayers at the convention centre at the time of the blast. 

A four-member team from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from Kochi was at the spot, sources said.

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