May 19, 2024

 

Authorities investigate after an improvised explosive device disrupted a Jehovah’s Witness prayer session at the Zamra International Convention Center.

Approximately two percent of India’s populace follows Christianity / Photo: Reuters.

REUTERS Approximately two percent of India’s populace follows Christianity / Photo: Reuters.

An explosive device blast during a Christian prayer meeting in India’s southern state of Kerala has killed one person and wounded 36 others, police have said.

 

Hundreds of Jehovah’s Witness faithful were gathered on Sunday for a prayer session at the Zamra International Convention Center in the town of Kalamassery in Kerala state when the explosion took place.

 

The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported at least three “blasts”.

 

Videos filmed right after the blast and shared online showed fire inside the convention center and rescuers helping people evacuate the building.

 

The wounded, many of them with burn injuries, were transported to hospitals for treatment.

 

Investigation continues

 

Director General of Police of Kerala, Sheik Darvesh Saheb, said an initial investigation has revealed an improvised explosive device was used.

 

“At about 9:40 am (0410 GMT) approximately there was an explosion in Zamra International Convention Centre in which one person died and 36 are undergoing treatment,” Saheb told reporters.

 

“We will find out who is behind this and take stringent action…preliminary investigation shows it was an IED (improvised explosive device) blast.”

 

Religious minority persecution

 

Around two percent of India’s 1.4 billion people are Christian, according to the last census.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of a US-based Christian evangelical movement, who are best known for knocking on doors around the world, bible in hand, trying to convert people to their beliefs.

 

The movement, which preaches non-violence and is politically neutral, has a long

history of being persecuted.

 

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