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Toll in Kerala blasts rises to 5

Kochi: The death toll from the blasts that rocked a Christian religious gathering near here two weeks ago has risen to five, the Kerala government said on Sunday.

The victim, identified as 45-year-old Sally Pradeepan from Malayattoor in Ernakulam district of the state, died at a private hospital on Saturday night, a government health bulletin said.

She was on ventilator support, it said.

Presently, 17 people who were injured in the blasts are undergoing treatment in various hospitals here, the bulletin by a medical board constituted to treat those who were wounded in the incident said.

Of them eight are in ICU with one in critical condition and the remaining nine in wards, it said.

The blasts were set off at a religious gathering of a Christian sect known as Jehovah’s Witnesses on October 29.

A 12-year-old girl named Libina from Malayattoor had succumbed to her injuries on October 30 at the Kalamassery Government Medical College Hospital, and two women who were part of the gathering were killed on the day of the blasts.

Subsequently, 61-year-old Moly Joy from Kalamassery died at a private hospital on November 6.

Over 50 people were injured, some seriously, during the multiple blasts at an international convention centre in Kalamassery, near this port city of Kerala.

They had gathered for the final day of a three-day-long prayer meeting of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

A few hours after the incident, a man — Dominic Martin — claiming to be an estranged member of Jehovah’s Witnesses surrendered before the police in Thrissur district, claiming he carried out the multiple blasts.

The police later recorded his arrest.

In addition to Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (punishment for murder) and Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act, relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) have also been invoked against Martin.

(Published 12 November 2023, 07:51 IST)

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