India, Politics, Punjab

Twin IED blasts in Punjab: Two more children die, toll rises to five

Two more children, who were critically injured after a high-intensity twin blast that occurred during a political road show at Maur in Punjab’s Bathinda district on Tuesday night, have died at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.

These deaths occurred early on Wednesday morning. The death toll, in the suspected terror attack, ahead of the due state assembly elections, has reached to five. The children were identified as Japsimran Singh (14) and Ritamdeep Singh (9).

10 critically injured people are still undergoing treatment at hospitals in Bathinda.

A squad of forensic and explosive experts reached Maur, where three people including a Congress worker were killed. Almost dozen was injured in the blast that took place around 8.30 pm on Tuesday.

The road show was carried out by Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi, after he addressed a public gathering. Three people identified as Harpal Singh, Jassi’s personal assistant, Ashok Kumar, a beggar, and his 10-year-old daughter, Barkha, died instantly after the attack.

The blast occurred a few seconds after the Congress candidate’s vehicle crossed a deserted car in which the explosives were placed. Although Jassi’s car was hit, he escaped safely.

As per the initial police probe, the twin IED (improvised explosive device) blasts were set off through remote control. The IEDs were planted in a dumped car and a scooter parked near the gathering and along the route taken by Jassi post the rally.

“Nothing can be ruled out. It’s also possible that a pressure cooker was used to trigger the blast,” said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity.  “Both the vehicles sported fake number plates. Even their chassis and engine numbers had been struck off,” the officer added.

“We have been asking the Election Commission to take note of AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal mingling with extremists. This blast proves that our fears weren’t unfounded. Radical elements have infiltrated Punjab in league with the AAP,” said Sukhbir Singh Badal, deputy chief minister, and Akali Dal president.

Similar suspicions were expressed by Congress. “The situation here is volatile, with the entry of AAP-sponsored outsiders. What’s more, the criminal gangs have been given a free hand by the Badal government to create mayhem during the polls,” said party president Captain Amarinder Singh.

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