1 killed, 5 hurt in Ludhiana blast

MHA seeks report from Punjab; NSG called in; Punjab CM Channi orders probe; use of IED suspected.

A blast inside the district court complex in Ludhiana on Thursday left one person dead and five others injured. The blast occurred at around 12.25 pm on Thursday afternoon. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that no one shall be allowed to disturb the hard-earned peace of Punjab. He has announced free treatment for all those injured in the blast that took place in the gents toilet on the second floor of the district courts complex.

The blast took place in a toilet in the old building around 12.25 pm. Two courtrooms are located near the toilet. The blast damaged the roof and walls of the toilet. Following the explosion, the bathroom grill fell on the vehicles parked on the ground floor. Hundreds of litigants with their attendants visit the court complex daily. Lawyers’ chambers are located in the new building. Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar is leading the investigation as forensic experts and dog squads also reached the spot. Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma also reached the spot.

Commissioner Bhullar said the deceased was being identified to ascertain how and why he reached the blast spot. The use of IED in the blast is suspected. The District Administrative Complex was evacuated on directions of the Deputy Commissioner. All government offices in the district would be thoroughly checked, the DC said. After the CM and Deputy CM, PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu also visited DMC and Civil Hospital in Ludhiana to meet those injured in the blast. The area was cordoned off. All four adjoining six-storey buildings of the district courts complex have been cordoned off with heavy police force deployed there. The NIA has rushed a two-member team from Chandigarh to probe the incident.

The CM has also ordered a high level probe to crack the case. The injured have been identified as: Sandeep Kaur (31), a resident of Raikot (Ludhiana), Sharanjit Kaur (25), resident of Jamalpur Ludhiana. Both are undergoing treatment at Civil Hospital Ludhiana. Manish Kumar (32), resident of Police Colony Jamalpur, Ludhiana, is undergoing treatment at CMC Ludhiana; Kuldeep Singh Mand (50) of Bindra Ban Road, Ludhiana, is undergoing treatment at DMC Ludhiana and Krishan Khanna (75) of Phase 1, Dugri, is also undergoing treatment at DMC Ludhiana.

While speaking to mediapersons, the CM said the intelligence agencies and Punjab Police are working on all theories and would soon crack this case. He added that all five injured persons are out of danger and are undergoing treatment in different hospitals of the city. The CM has also announced free treatment of all the injured persons. Since lawyers were observing a strike on Thursday, there was not much footfall of litigants and their attendants at the court.

Captain Amarinder Singh, while condemning the incident, tweeted, “Disturbing news of a blast at Ludhiana court complex. Saddened to know about the demise of 2 individuals, Praying for the recovery of those injured. @PunjabPoliceInd must get to the bottom of this.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) December 23, 2021

The entire court complex was vacated, and the judges suspended their work. “I want to reiterate that we would not let any person disturb the hard earned peace and communal harmony of the state,” said the CM, while adding that they would soon unmask the agencies who want to disturb Punjab ahead of the Assembly elections.

CM Channi said as the Assembly elections in the state were approaching, some anti-national elements were indulging in terror activities. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa accompanied by DGP S. Chattopadhyay visited the blast site and took stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, a team of National Security Guard has been called in connection with explosion, local police officials said. “Bomb disposal squad is at the site. Police conducting a search at the Court complex. A team of NSG is also coming here,” said Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, Ludhiana Commissioner of Police. “The identity of a possible suspect, whose body was found at the explosion site, is being ascertained. Other injured in the incident, are in stable condition,” he added. The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from Punjab on the explosion, said sources. WITH AGENCY INPUTS.