The death toll from the blasts that rocked the peaceful town of Kalamassery in Kerala on Sunday, rose to three on Monday. The explosions had resulted in two deaths on Sunday, with a 12-year-old girl who suffered 95% burns succumbing to her injuries on Monday morning.
The blasts had occurred during a gathering held by the religious group Jehovah’s Witnesses, sending shockwaves through the community. Shortly after the blasts, a 48-year-old man named Dominic Martin took responsibility for the attack in a now-deleted Facebook video. He later turned himself in at a nearby police station, where he remains in custody. Martin alleged that he was a member of the religious group and cited his anger towards their “anti-national” teachings as the motive behind the attacks.
However, Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesperson TA Sreekumar denied Martin’s claims, stating that they were unaware of his presence at the event. The explosion had resulted in two deaths on Sunday, with a 12-year-old girl who suffered 95% burns succumbing to her injuries on Monday morning. According to Kerala Health Minister Veena George, 17 individuals were admitted to various hospitals, with 12 of them in intensive care, and four in critical condition on ventilators.
The Kerala police are investigating the incident and trying to verify Dominic Martin’s confession. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) MR Ajith Kumar stated that the investigation is in its preliminary stage.
In response to the explosions, heightened security measures have been implemented in India’s capital, Delhi, and other major cities like Mumbai. Jehovah’s Witnesses is a religious group known for its belief that traditional Christian churches have strayed from the true teachings of the Bible and that the world’s destruction is imminent.
The movement, boasting around 8.7 million followers worldwide, has a significant presence in Kerala and is known for its door-to-door evangelistic efforts.
Earlier, in his video confession, Dominic Martin, who claimed responsibility for the attacks, cited his association with Jehovah’s Witnesses for 16 years. He asserted that he discovered what he perceived as “anti-national” teachings within the group approximately six years ago. Martin pointed to teachings against singing the national anthem, voting, joining the army, and pursuing government jobs as reasons for his discontent.
He accused the group of divisive teachings and expressed concerns about their influence on young minds. Martin recounted a disturbing incident where a young child was discouraged from accepting candy from a classmate, alleging that the group was “poisoning young minds” with their divisive ideologies.