Blast outside Manipur speaker's house, one killed

Blast outside Manipur speaker's house, one killed

At least one person was killed and three others injured in a powerful explosion Sunday evening outside the residence of the speaker of the outgoing assembly and Congress party candidate in election-bound Manipur, an officer said.

It was the third attack on candidates in the past two weeks. A police spokesperson said the explosion took place outside the residence of Speaker and Congress party candidate I. Hemochandra Singh on the outskirts of Imphal at around 6.15 p.m.

"According to initial reports, it was an improvised explosive device that went off killing one person and injuring three more," a senior police officer said. All the victims were by-standers or pedestrians.

More details of the blast were awaited. Three people were injured in a grenade attack Jan 10 when unidentified militants lobbed a grenade outside the residence of K. Joykishen, a Trinamol Congress candidate, on the outskirts of Imphal. Joykishen was present at his residence when the attack took place.

On Jan 6, a ruling Congress party election office came under a grenade attack although no one was injured. Elections to the 60-member house take place Jan 28.

Earlier, seven militant groups, including the outlawed United National Liberation Front (UNLF), the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Republic of Kangleipak (PREPAK), have called for a ban on all election meetings and campaigning by the Congress candidates in the state.

An emailed statement signed by seven militant groups warned of dire consequences if their diktat was violated. Militant groups in past elections as well targeted the Congress candidates and other politicians and issued similar warnings.

There are more than 20 rebel armies active in Manipur, a state bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.