A portion of cloth hangings and a digital hoarding put up as the backdrop burnt; two policemen put out flames

A mysterious object exploded underneath the stage put up by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) at a public meeting at Munichalai here on Sunday afternoon. No one was injured in the incident, the police said.

A minor portion of cloth hangings and a digital hoarding erected as the backdrop were burnt.

According to police sources, unidentified miscreants burnt some clothes on which a cracker was placed. People around heard an explosion at around 3.15 p.m. following which fire engulfed the rear-side of the stage on Chairman Muthuramaiyyer Road.

Party deputy propaganda secretary Nanjil Sampath, Minister for Cooperatives K. Raju, and Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa, were among those who were scheduled to address the meeting around 7 p.m. to highlight the achievements of the ruling party government.

“We had left the venue around 2 p.m. after the stage and backdrop work was completed. Around 3.30 p.m., we heard about the fire and blast and came here. By then, the police had arrived. The fire partially destroyed the flex board,” said S.D. Jayabal, party urban district secretary of MGR Mandram, which is organising the meeting.

Two policemen, who were present near the stage, put out the flames. Forensic expert, R. Meenakshi, who examined the scene, collected the remnants of the charred materials. A few burnt ropes, clothes, and jute threads used in crackers (atom bombs) were found strewn around under the stage.

The police also collected three batteries from the site.

However, Police Commissioner Sanjay Mathur said only a cracker had exploded under the stage. “The miscreants could have put the batteries to create confusion. There was neither any petrol nor kerosene at the site,” he said. The motive and the people behind the blast were under investigation. On November 20 last year, the city witnessed a blast at Nelpettai. The improvised explosive device was planted underneath the chassis of a stationary car of an advocate.

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