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Terror Strikes At ISKCON On Janmasthami

by Sangai Press

Posted August 19, 2006

Four killed, scores injured as gory blast rips apart Ras Lila rendition on Black Wednesday

Imphal, Aug 16: Terror struck the International Society of Krishna Consciousness today evening when terrorists lobbed an explosive inside its compound on the Airport road at about 6.45 pm killing 4 people including a minor boy of 8 and injuring at least 40. While one was killed on the spot, two succumbed to their injuries at RIMS and the other at Shija Hospitals.

The bomb attack came even as thousands of devotees were thronging the temple of ISKCON on the occasion of Krishna Janmasthami.

A reliable source said that the bomb was a Chinese made hand grenade and the police have recovered the lever of the explosive.

The majority community in Manipur, the Meiteis are predominantly Vaishnavites.

International Director of ISKCON, Swami Damodara sustained injuries on the right hand and he has been admitted to Shija Hospitals.

The dead included one minor boy of 8 and an elderly member of ISKCON.

While the minor boy passed away at RIMS the elderly man was killed at the spot as he bore the full brunt of the explosion.

The ISKCON member is identified as Bir Kumar (74) of Khagempalli Huidrom Leikai while the minor boy has been identified as Wangkhem Anil son of W Naba of Sangaiprou Mamang Leikai.

Another victim who passed away at RIMS has been identified as Dr K Binodkumar of Kwakeithel Akham Leikai.

The fourth victim who passed away at Shija Hospitals and is identified as Anaom Blondin (12) son of A Bobby of Lalambung Takhellambam Leikai.

Speaking to reporters at RIMS hospital, a visibly upset Chief Minister O Ibobi said that the act was most unfortunate and dubbed it as an act of cowardice and terrorism.

The Chief Minister said that the Government will award ex-gratia to all the family members of the deceased as well as bear the expenditure of those injured in the blast.

Taking a tough stance, the Chief Minister said that the Government will leave nothing to chance to book the killers and give them fitting punishment.

As the injured were being brought to RIMS, a number of high ranking police officials including DGP AK Parashar visited the hospital.

The proscribed RPF has strongly condemned the bomb attack.

A spokesman of the Communication and Publicity Department of the outfit informed the press that attack at places of worship and in crowded areas is deplorable and added that it was a cowardly act.

Among the injured, two are foreigners, Bryan Nash of the US (admitted to RIMS) and Radhika Pyari Devi Das of Iran but known granted Indian citizenship (admitted to Shija Hospitals).

According to Joseph Meade and Jivanuga Das of California, USA, who arrived only yesterday to celebrate Janmathami here, the bomb exploded when a Ras Lila was mid-way.

At the fateful moment, devotees from Iran, the USA and Prabhu Damodara Swami were watching the Ras Lila at the makeshift mandop in addition to the thousands of other devotees who came to the temple complex to offer prayers.

When all the devotees were thus celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, a sound like that of a fire cracker was heard at the eastern side of the mandop.

And all the people in the mandop turned toward their direction, said Jivanuga.

The next moment, the bomb exploded with a loud sound in the South Eastern corner of the mandop, Jivanuga added.

Condemning the attack, Jivanuga said that such violent activities must never be perpetrated in any place of worship adding that all the people ought to condemn such violence.

According to other devotees, the explosive was lobbed by some unidentified men from the South Eastern side and they escaped amid the crowd soon after.

Among the wounded was Prabhu Damodar while one devotee sitting on the Southern side died on the spot.

The victim is identified as Bir Kumar (74) of Khagempalli Huidrom Leikai.

He was also known as Jitendra Das according to the diksha name of ISKCON.

It is reported that Bir Kumar was in ISKCON for the last 10 years.

Choked with emotion, ISKCON devotees noted that the perpetrators of such ghastly crime will face the wrath of God.

They also questioned the rationale of killing devotees and innocent people.

There was no monetary demand, they maintained.

Immediately after the blast, SP of Imphal West, Additional SP, commando teams and troops of Maratha LI rushed to the temple complex.

Later DGP AK Parashar and other top officials of police came to the temple and inspected the site.

Following the blast, thousands of people who came there ran helter skelter, without knowing which directions they were heading.

All the stall owners also left their stalls and ran for their lives.