Four powerful bombs exploded in Manipur, shortly before the start of the official Independence Day function here on Wednesday. The blasts occurred around 8 a.m. in Imphal East, Imphal West and Thoubal districts. Two persons sustained shrapnel injuries in Thoubal.

Though all major underground organisations gave a call for boycott of the function, including a “ban” on school and college students participating in the march past, there were 30 contingents at the event where Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh hoisted the tricolour on the I Manipur Rifles parade ground here.

Security measures were beefed up but life came to a standstill in Manipur with no vehicle plying on roads. Only those of the press and vehicles for essential services were seen, in small numbers.

Twenty personnel were honoured with the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service. But Mr. Singh fainted shortly after he started giving away the medals. His security guards came to his rescue, and he continued the distribution, seated. When he felt better, the Chief Minister began his speech. However, within minutes, he collapsed again and he was immediately taken to his residence where doctors attended to him.