Ludhiana- A bomb went off in the district court complex here on Thursday, killing one person and injuring five others, prompting the Punjab government to declare a high alert in the state.
Police suspect that the man killed in the blast in the second-floor bathroom was trying to set off the explosive device, or may even have been a suicide bomber.
The Union Home Ministry has sought a detailed report from the state government as early as possible. It also wanted to be informed about the findings of the initial investigations.
The blast wrecked a wall of the bathroom, shattered window panes in adjoining rooms and broke windscreens of some cars parked below, triggering panic in the busy court complex.
Officials said the five people, including two women, were injured in the explosion were out of danger.
CM Channi, accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, visited a hospital in Ludhiana to meet the injured.
He also summoned a meeting later in the day in Chandigarh.
The blast comes days after the alleged sacrilege bids – at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and a gurdwara in Kapurthala – followed by the lynching of two men.
Over the past onths there have also been cases of drones being spotted near the Pakistan border, with authorities suspecting that they could have dropped arms or explosives.
Channi expressed fear that an attempt was being made to spread anarchy in Punjab ahead of the state assembly polls.
Earlier, he told reporters in Chandigarh, “As elections near, some anti-national and anti-state forces are trying to commit such disgusting acts, and for this the government is alert and the people should also be alert,” he said.
Deputy CM Randhawa, who is also the state’s home minister, said some “external forces” could be trying to destabilise Punjab, and alluded to Pakistan. Punjab has been put on high alert, he said.
Several advocates complained of lax security arrangements at the complex, and Randhawa said more metal detectors will be installed there.
Asked if it could be a human bomb or a fidayeen suicide attack, he minister nothing can be ruled out. A DNA test will be conducted on the unidentified man found dead at the blast site, he added.
CCTV footage will also be examined, he said.
Ludhiana Police Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said the area has been sealed and forensic teams will collect samples from the site.
Initial reports said two people were killed, but police later clarified that only one man had died.
Former chief minister Amarinder Singh said he was saddened after hearing that two people had died. “PunjabPoliceInd must get to the bottom of this,” he tweeted.
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed shock. “Pb govt must focus on law & order instead of political vendetta to ensure peace & communal harmony in State,” he said in a tweet.
The Aam Aadmi Party called it a “conspiracy” and said the Channi government had “completely failed” in maintaining law and order in the state.
Blaming Anti-National Forces To Pakistan: How Politicians Reacted To Ludhiana Court Blast
The blast inside the district court complex in Punjab's Ludhiana on Thursday triggered a plethora of reactions from politicians across parties, with some blaming Pakistan and anti-national forces behind the incident.
The blast left one person dead and five injured, said Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. The Union Home Ministry has sought a detailed report on the incident.
The blast in Ludhiana is extremely condemnable.
My condolences to the families of those who’ve lost their lives and prayers of quick recovery for the injured.
Omicron पर PM Modi की समीक्षा बैठक,ऑक्सीजन सप्लाई से लेकर टीकाकरण तक दिए ये निर्देश
Strict action must be taken at the earliest against those guilty.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 23, 2021
Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi met the injured people later in the day and said that some anti-national forces were trying to spread anarchy in the state ahead of the election, PTI reported.
"As elections are nearing, some anti-national and anti-state forces are trying to commit such disgusting acts and for this the government is alert and people should also be alert," Channi said.
Speaking to reporters, Channi said, prima facie, the person who operated the bomb was the one who died in the blast.
"Which agencies are trying to disturb Punjab's peace will become clear as investigations are on," he said. The CM further said that those responsible would be dealt with sternly.
On the other hand, Punjab deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa blamed Pakistan for the incident.
"Patients have minor injuries. One of them said the explosion sound was too loud as if a building fell. Pakistan doesn't want us stable," ANI quoted Randhawa as saying.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for strict action against those guilty.
"The blast in Ludhiana is extremely condemnable. My condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives and prayers of quick recovery for the injured. Strict action must be taken at the earliest against those guilty," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condemned the Ludhiana court complex blast
"Some people want to create disturbance in Punjab before the state Assembly elections. The people of Punjab should stay together," Kejriwal said.
The district court was functioning when the blast took place on the second floor of the complex. The intensity of the blast was so huge that one of the walls in the court complex got damaged and the windows of some vehicles parked in the premises were shattered.
It's unfortunate that fear is being spread in the name of a political agenda. That's the culmination of negative politics; innocent people get killed for votes' polarization: Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, after visiting Ludhiana District Court blast victims pic.twitter.com/k76UVtEW9r
— ANI (@ANI) December 23, 2021
Calling the incident "unfortunate", Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said fear was being spread in the name of a political agenda.
"That's the culmination of negative politics; innocent people get killed for votes' polarisation. If everything remains fine for about 4 years, why do a series of events happen only 1-2 months prior to (Assembly) elections? That's what happened in Bengal. I condemn this cheap politics. We'll give a befitting reply to those who want to divide us," ANI quoted Sidhu as saying.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana expressed deep shock at the incident and asked the Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court to enquire about the developments.
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