Blast rocks Manipur ahead of PM's visit

One person was reportedly killed. The explosion occurred around 11 am at the entrance of Hapta Kangjeibung gro­und in the East Imphal district  when an unsuspecting rickshaw puller,  who was paid Rs 20 to transport the bomb by militants, was planting it near the exhibition gate, official sources in Imphal said.

A state of high alert has been sounded in the state ahead of the prime minister’s visit in the wake of the bomb blast. 

In New Delhi Union Home Minister P Chidambaram put the number of injured at four. He said as per the information he said the bomb was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).He said Manipur remained on high alert in the run up to the prime minister’s visit later this week.

“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.

The minister said the  Government anticipated trouble in Manipur and very stringent measures had been taken.

The bomb exploded at  Hapta Kangjeibung ground where ‘Sangai festival’, in which representatives from Thailand, Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries were among the 400 delegates taking part, was being celebrated. It was the last day of the festival. Thousands of people were present at the ground at the time of the explosion, about 50 feet from the AIR station in Imphal.

No individual or group has, however, claimed responsibility for the incident. The rickshaw puller, identified as Kora, was killed, sources said. He was paid Rs 20 by militants believed to belong to Kangleipak Communist Party to place the bomb. It went off while he was having tea. The injured were taken to RIMS hospital.

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