Four blasts were reported in Manipur, with one of the explosions taking place close to the ground where the state government was conducting an Independence Day function.
Official sources said the first explosion was reported from interior Thoubal district at a fair ground, near the district headquarters, at around 8 AM while arrangements were being made to celebrate Independence Day.
Four persons, identified as Y Manao Singh (52), Sanabanta Das (22), Akoijam Ongbi Sanajaobi Devi (55) and Ningombam Manisam Devi (65) were injured and taken to a nearby district hospital. Their condition was stated to be critical.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts yet.
Three powerful bombs exploded in the capital complex here while Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh was giving his speech at the 1st Manipur Rifles parade ground where the main celebrations was taking place.
The ground is situated only about two kilometres away from the site of the bomb explosions.
The Chief Minister was appealing to insurgents to give up arms and join the national mainstream by participating in the development process.
Sources said a powerful bomb, allegedly planted by the insurgents at the side of busy road at Sagolband in the capital complex, was apparently set off by using a remote-controlled device at around 9 AM, damaging the wall of a nearby house.
They said the bomb might have been planted to attack security personnel who used the road often to go to CRPF headquarters at Langjing, about 6 KM west of here.
Ten minutes later, another powerful bomb exploded at a place on Minuthong bridge on Imphal river in the capital complex, sources said, adding the place is about KM from the 1st Manipur Rifles parade ground.
Official reports from Thoubal district said minutes after the bomb explosion at Mela ground, police and para-military forces, including Assam Rifles personnel, surrounded nearby suspected areas and rounded up several persons.
All the detained were later freed after proper verification, the reports said. Passers-by at isolated places were also checked to detect movement of ultras who sneaked into nearby interior areas after the explosion, reports said.
The third explosion occurred in the Mahabali Temple complex, about one and a half KMs from the parade ground of 1st Manipur Rifles, at around 9.45 AM, the sources said.
A major portion of the fencing wall of the temple was destroyed in the explosion.
The police and security forces stepped up patrolling after the explosions at the capital complex and blocked all exit points to prevent escape of suspected insurgents.
Several areas were searched, but no arrest was made, the sources said. All police and security posts were given a red-alert signal to intensify security measures and patrol within their jurisdictions.
Official reports said Independence day was celebrated amid tight security deployment at all district headquarters peacefully.
The blasts come a day after a boycott of all Independence Day functions was called by seven insurgency groups in Manipur and despite high security throughout the state.
The coordination committee (CORCOM) of seven major insurgent outfits including United National Liberation (UNLF), Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and Kanglei Yawol Kann Lup (KYKL) have called for boycott of celebrations saying that Manipur was ‘forcibly merged’ with the union in 1949.
In a joint statement, the CORCOM appealed to the people to boycott the functions and remain indoors during the celebrations.
with inputs from PTI