At least one person was killed and several were injured in a series of explosions at a convention centre in the southern Indian state of Kerala on Sunday where a Christian group was holding a prayer meeting.
The incident took place during a Jehovah’s Witnesses convention at the centre in Kalamassery, about 10 kilometres (6.21 miles) northeast of Kochi. The group was holding a three-day zonal convention that had seen more than 2,000 registrations, according to local media.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the incident was very unfortunate and that the police have taken it very seriously. He said police are collecting the details and cannot provide further details now.
P. Rajeev, Kerala’s industry minister, told reporters that he cause of the explosion could not be immediately determined.
“A detailed investigation is on. The reason can be known only after the investigation,” he said.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are an international Christian denomination that was founded in the United States around 1870. They are best known in many countries for door-to-door evangelism.
Local newspaper Mathrubhumi said at least three explosions occurred inside the convention hall, with more than 23 people injured. The injured have been rushed to hospitals.
The health and medical education departments have been instructed to provide high-quality treatment, said Kerala’s health minister, Veena George.
“The explosion occurred seconds after the end of a prayer as part of the day’s event. The first blast took place in the middle of the hall. Seconds later, two more explosions rocked simultaneously on either sides of the hall,” TA Sreekumar, regional spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses told mathrubhumi.com.
Jehovah’s Witnesses say they have about 60,000 followers in India.
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