Bomb blast in Manipur ahead of PM`s visit

A powerful bomb exploded at the entrance of a festival ground killing one person in Manipur`s East Imphal district ahead of PM`s visit.

Last Updated: Dec 01, 2011, 00:40 AM IST

Imphal/ New Delhi: A powerful bomb exploded
at the entrance of a festival ground on Wednesday killing one person
in Manipur`s East Imphal district ahead of Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh`s visit on Saturday.

Official sources said two women visitors were also
injured while Union Home Minister P Chidambaram put the number
of injured at four.

The explosion occurred when an unsuspecting rickshaw
puller, who was paid Rs 20 to transport the bomb by militants,
was placing it near the gate of the exhibition, official
sources in Imphal said.
Chidambaram said the information he had was that the bomb
was an Improvised Explosive Device(IED).

The site of the blast is about 50 metres away from the
newly-constructed `City Convention Centre` which is due to be
inaugurated by the Prime Minister on December three.

The bomb exploded at around 11 AM at Hapta Kangjeibung
ground where `Sangai festival`, in which many representatives
from Thailand, Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries
were among the 400 delegates taking part, was being
celebrated. The festival was concluding today.

The rickshaw puller, identified as Kora, was killed, the
sources said. The injured were taken to Regional Institute of
Medical Science and hospital.
Chidambaram said that in the run up to the Prime
Minister`s visit Manipur remained on high alert.

"The information is IED was handed over to a person and
before he could place it, it went off. He was severely
injured. Four others have received minor injuries. The police
have been able to speak to the person who is believed to have
carried the IED and they have taken a statement," he told
reporters in Delhi.

He said Government anticipated trouble in Manipur and
very stringent measures have been taken.

No individual or group has, however, claimed
responsibility for the incident.

Official sources said the unsuspecting rickshaw puller
was paid Rs 20 by militants believed to belong to the
Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) to place the bomb at the gate
of the exhibition and it went off while he was drinking tea.

Thousands of people gather at the exhibition ground
during the `Sangai festival`. Sangai` is a rare brow-antlered
deer found only in Manipur. Foreign representatives put up
stalls to sell their wares.

The site of the blast is about 50 feet from the the All
India Radio(AIR) station in Imphal.

A faction of the KCP had called a 72-hour general strike
in Manipur, which would end tomorrow at 6 AM, in protest
against the prolonged economic blockade on national highways.