Kerala Blast: Centre Sends NSG Team To Kochi To Assist State Police, Security Beefed Around Churches In Delhi

Eyewitnesses have described the blast at the Christian convention at Kerala's Kochi as a 'fireball' that erupted as people were praying. An alert has also been sounded in Uttar Pradesh after the blast.


A blast in Kalamassery convention centre in Keralakilled one and injured 36 others.

The Centre on Sunday sent a National Security Guards (NSG) team to Kerala to assist the state with investigation in the blast at a Christian convention in Kochi. 

At least one person was killed and 52 were injured in the blast at an event of the Christian sect Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Samra International Convention Center in Kalamassery area of Kochi on Sunday.

The Kerala Police has said that the blast appears to be related to an improvised explosive device (IED). The police further said a person has surrendered and has claimed responsibility for the blast. The claim is being looked into. 

Giving details about the toll, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said, ""Fifty-two people admitted to different hospitals. Thirty people are admitted here [Government Medical College, Ernakulam], out of which 18 are in ICU and six are critically injured. Among those 6, one is a 12-year-old child. The rest of the injured are in other private hospitals. The dead person has not been identified yet."


Separately, security around churches in Delhi has been beefed up following the blast in Kerala at a Christian gathering. 

Amit Shah talks to Pinarayi Vijayan, sends NSG team to Kerala

Following the blast in Kochi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah talked to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and extended support of central agencies. 

"The Home Minister spoke to the Kerala Chief Minister to take stock of the situation after the blast. The chief minister briefed the home minister about the incident," said a source to PTI about the conversation. 

The agency further said that National Investigation Agency (NIA) and National Security Guards (NSG) teams were deployed to Kerala.


"Teams of the anti-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) and anti-terror probe agency National Investigation Agency (NIA) are being sent to Kerala following a directive of the home minister to assist the state government," reported PTI.

Separately, ANI reported that the Centre has sent an eight-member NSG team to collect evidence and make inquiries about the blast in Kochi. The team comprises bomb experts of NSG, which is the primary domestic counter-terrorism force in the country. 

"According to sources, an eight-member National Security Guard team, including an officer, is on way to Kerala to inquire the bomb explosion. The team is expected to reach at the bomb blast site by this evening. The move followed the instructions of MA Ganapathy, the NSG chief. Ganapathy dispatched the bomb disposal unit that included sniffer dogs as well as experts having knowledge of explosive materials," reported ANI, adding that an NIA team is also understood to being sent. 

Security beefed at churches in Delhi, alert sounded in UP

Following the blast at a Christian gathering in Kerala's Kochi, security was beefed up at churches in Delhi on Sunday. 

The PTI also reported a senior official as saying that security was also being tightened across main markets, metro stations, bus stands, railway stations, and other public places.  

"Teams have been informed to put barricades on the border area from Uttar Pradesh Side and Haryana side. Police in civil dress, riders and PCRs have been asked to stay on alert and not to ignore any information they receive. We are already keeping strict vigil in overcrowded markets. Extra platoon deployment has already been done considering the festival season," said the official to PTI.


Sources further told PTI that the Special Cell of Delhi Police is in continuous touch with central agencies. 

Separately, ANI reported that an alert has been sounded in Uttar Pradesh where the police have listed a number of districts that would garner special attention. The list includes: Kanpur, Meerut, Varanasi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Hapur, Baghpat, Bareilly, Rampur, Agra. 

"All the security agencies were also alerted, and teams are busy investigating the inputs received in the past few days. Every program related to the Israel-Hamas conflict will be monitored. Orders have been given to keep special surveillance in several districts including Kanpur, Meerut, Varanasi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Hapur, Baghpat, Bareilly, Rampur, Agra," said UP Special Director General of Police (SDGP), Law and Order, Prashant Kumar, as per ANI. 


Witnesses describe scenes of horror

Laxman Prabhu, whose mother and sister were injured in the blast, told the media, "My mother is admitted in the hospital, she came yesterday ( to the convention centre) for the prayer. She already has some other issues and now she has got burn injuries on her legs, hands, mouth and back. My sister has also got burn injuries on both the legs. Doctors are treating them very well."

Recounting her shock, an elderly woman told PTI, "When I opened my eyes after hearing the first blast, all I saw was a fireball in front of me. Nothing...nothing more...just a fireball. Everybody ran scattered here and there. It was a sprawling hall, and a large number of people were inside."


A man in his 70s described the shock to PTI with a trembling voice: "I was standing at the side of the hall, praying with my eyes closed. Suddenly, a shocking blast was heard from nearby. I saw only fire around and ran to the door along with others."

This man added that in all his years of attending the convention, the attendee had never witnessed anything like this before.