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Explosion in Ludhiana court leaves one dead, six injured

Police inspect the site of a blast, in which one person was killed and many others were injured, inside the court complex in Ludhiana, Punjab, on December 23, 2021.

One person was killed and six others sustained injuries in an explosion at the district court complex in Ludhiana on Thursday.

Political parties asserted that the incident was an attempt to create disturbances in Punjab ahead of Assembly elections in early 2022.

Later, an official statement said that one more person has sustained an injury in the blast, taking the number to six. 

Ludhiana Police Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said, “An explosion was heard from the public toilet on the second floor of the building around 12:15 p.m. The police rushed to the spot. The reason behind the incident has yet to be ascertained. Preliminary investigation is on. A body was recovered from the spot and we are trying to identify the person, who is also our suspect as well because it seems that the impact of the load of the explosive was suffered by the person. Either the person was carrying the explosive or was very near to it. But it is only preliminary and can’t be confirmed yet. The entire area has been cleared and police teams are searching the entire complex. A bomb disposal team is also on the work and a NSG team from Delhi is on the way. We are examining the CCTV footage.”

According to Yogesh Dewan, who was present in the court, a huge sound of the explosion was heard at around 12:15 p.m. in the court complex. Photo: Special Arrangement

According to Yogesh Dewan, who was present in the court, a huge sound of the explosion was heard at around 12:15 p.m. in the court complex. Photo: Special Arrangement

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi drew a parallel between the registration of an FIR against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia and the Ludhiana blast as well as the recent sacrilege incidents.

At a rally in Mullanpur Dakha, he said, “As to why such a horrendous incident took place only after Majithia was cornered by the law. There are some anti-Punjab forces who want to disrupt the peace of the State. Why all ‘beadbis’ [sacrilege] and blasts are happening just after Majithia was booked? We are also probing this angle to the recent dastardly acts that have been perpetrated.”

The police recently registered a case against Mr. Majithia under different sections of the Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, triggering a political furore.

Earlier, after visiting the blast site, Mr. Channi observed that intelligence agencies and the police were working on all theories and would soon crack the case. “Prima facie, it seems that the deceased person was the perpetrator of this crime. The body has not been removed so that investigation and crime scene is not tampered with. A high-level probe has been ordered and all government agencies would unearth the truth in this case soon,” he remarked. The five injured were out of danger, he added.

MHA seeks report

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought a report from the Punjab government on the blast, a senior government official said. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also briefed about the incident, the official added.

An eyewitness told The Hindu that the blast was so powerful that it badly damaged one of the walls in the complex besides shattering most of the windows of the building. At the time of the explosion, hundreds of people were in the complex.

Yogesh Dewan, who was present in the court, said a loud sound was heard at 12.15 p.m., after which people were seen running in panic. “I heard a loud noise. The intensity of the blast was such that almost all the window panes of the first floor, where I was present, were shattered. The blast reportedly took place on the second floor. Hundreds of litigants and advocates were present in the court. I saw at least one injured person being taken away by police,” he stated.

‘Fallout of conspiracies’

SAD president Sukhbir Badal asserted that the blast was a direct fallout of the conspiracies being hatched to destabilise the peace of the State. “We had said earlier that people will be provoked by communal incidents. This has happened with sacrilege also being committed at a temple after the desecration of Sri Harmandar Sahib [Golden Temple]. Now a bomb blast has also occurred. The State government and especially the State police chief should focus on maintaining law and order instead of keeping themselves busy in vendetta politics,” he said.

He also demanded that a sitting judge of the High Court should monitor the probe into the recent cases of sacrilege “Sikhs and Punjabis do not have any faith in the Congress government and its Home Minister. They are convinced the Congress government is bent upon saving those behind the heinous cases of sacrilege and does not have any interest in uncovering the conspiracy behind them. They have also rejected the low-level policy inquiry ordered by the government into the case and want a high-level inquiry monitored by the High Court,” he stated.

BJP’s charge

Hitting out at the Congress, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said the police were working with hands tied at the back and had been keeping information about drones and tiffin box bombs under the carpet.

While condemning the blast, he alleged that anti-national forces were taking advantage of the situation as the government had completely failed to give security any priority.

“Drones and bombs are being constantly pushed into Punjab by Pakistan’s ISI, and it is the duty of the State government to remain extra vigilant against it. Senior Congress leaders like Punjab Congress president Navjot Sidhu keep singing praise of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Army chief Bajwa calling them as their friends without realising that they had become a security threat to the country,” he said.

The Aam Aadmi Party strongly condemned the blast and questioned the government about the ‘declining’ law and order situation in the State.

Earlier, former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (retd.) said he was saddened by the death in the blast.

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Printable version | May 7, 2022 12:22:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/explosion-in-ludhiana-district-court-complex-says-police/article38018806.ece