Blast at Agra hospital; UP on high alert

It is still to be ascertained whether the blast was a terror attack or some criminal gang was behind it.

Zeenews Bureau

Agra: At least six people were injured when a low-intensity blast, in which a crude Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was used, ripped through a reception area of an Agra hospital in the city on Saturday evening.

Speaking to a news agency, an official confirmed that IED was used in the blast at the 70-bedded Jai Hospital here.

"It was a low-intensity explosion. It appears the explosive was kept under a seat at the hospital`s reception area," Special Director General of Police Brij Lal said.

"Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) have arrived at the site to gather more information about the nature of the explosion," he added.

The explosion took place at 5.45 pm at the reception of Jai Hospital, situated on a service lane of National Highway-2, barely 2.5 km away from Taj Mahal, a declared terror target and frequented by thousands of tourists, Indian and foreigners.

Security around the 17th century monument of love in this tourist town in Uttar Pradesh has been beefed up as it has been on the radar of terrorists for an attack. Entire state has also been put on high alert.

In New Delhi, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said reports indicated wires and battery parts were found at the blast spot.

He said a team of National Security Guard has been despatched to the spot, while the state police`s ATS was already probing the blast.

Inspector General of Police, Agra Zone, PK Tiwari said: "Of the injured, none is critical. They are being treated at the SN Medical College. The patients who were undergoing treatment at Jai Hospital are being shifted to other nursing homes."

He said the nature of the explosion suggests that it was a crude bomb of low density. A nine-volt battery was recovered from the spot, he added.

"We will be able to confirm about the nature of explosion on the basis of forensic reports," he said and refuted reports that the explosive was kept inside a tiffin recovered from the reception area.

"The tiffin we recovered was empty. We cannot link the explosion with the tiffin that probably belonged to the hospital staff or a patient`s attendant," he said.

At the time of the blast, the afternoon shift of the OPD was operational. The hospital owner, Dr Manvendra Singh was attending to patients and sustained pellet injuries in the blast. A receptionist and two patients/attendants were the other victims.

In the meantime, the UP government has sent a preliminary report on the blast to the Union Home Ministry, saying it was too early to conclude if the incident was a terror attack.

The report, sent by the UP Principal Secretary (Home) and the DGP, said the blast could also be the fallout of a rivalry between local nursing homes and the private hospital.

Meanwhile, reports have claimed that there was a specific intelligence alert with regard to Agra around 20 days back.

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