Terror in bags: On the blasts in Kerala

There needs to be a fair investigation of the Kalamassery blasts in Kerala

Updated - October 31, 2023 10:50 am IST

Published - October 31, 2023 12:15 am IST

Hours after a series of explosions tore through a convention of some 2,000 members of a minority millenarian church group, Jehova’s Witnesses, at Kalamassery in central Kerala on Sunday morning, a man named Martin Dominic took to social media to claim responsibility for the act of terror, which killed three people besides injuring 50 others. Martin said he was an estranged member of the sect and that he chose to punish it for “propagating anti-national sentiments”. Later, he surrendered before the police with what is believed to be an extensive trail of evidence, making it an open-and-shut case for the investigators. However, in view of the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted in shopping bags to trigger the explosions, the State constituted a special investigation team to look into all possible angles, including if it was indeed a renegade’s solitary mission. The National Investigation Agency and National Security Guard have begun their work.

But what is more worrisome is the wave of speculation and communal frenzy. In the few hours between the blasts and the surrender of Martin, a minority community was kept on tenterhooks by communally charged social media posts loaded with insinuations and vile assertions of Kerala having become a den of jihadis. That the blasts happened amid expressions of solidarity with Palestine by various political and social organisations in Kerala was deviously alluded to with a view to drumming up communal tensions. Among those who castigated Kerala for ‘harbouring terror’ were a Union Minister and a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Union Minister’s remarks resulted in an exchange with the Chief Minister of Kerala. Choosing to stir the communal cauldron instead of allowing a fair probe smacks of political skulduggery and malice. To isolate an Indian State and paint it in a certain colour does not augur well, as the Chief Minister pointed out. Based on reliable evidence gathered, the police have now recorded the arrest of Martin and charged him under various sections including the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The law should take its course. If there is truth in his claims, that an otherwise mild-mannered man with no known history of violence resorted to such a cold-blooded mass murder because he thought they were all ‘anti-nationals’, speaks to a deep-rooted social malaise. This does not seem to be the work of a mentally unhinged individual.

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