Iskcon Temple Blast Case Cracked

Imphal, January 19: Police claim to have unmasked those who hurled a grenade at Iskcon temple that turned Janmashtami festivities into a bloodbath last year.

Announcing this today, director-general of Manipur police A.K. Parashar told the media that police had identified the assailants. While he declined to divulge names of any group or individual behind the attacks on devotees, the police chief ruled out the hand of any Muslim fundamentalist group behind the killings.

“We know their identities. We will pick them up and punish them. It’s only a question of time before we take those responsible behind the blast into custody. Then everything will be as clear as daylight.”

Six persons, including two children and a girl, were killed while more than 50, including four foreign nationals, were wounded when a grenade exploded in the middle of a Ras Lila performance at the Iskcon temple here on August 16.

Manipur police announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to the identification and arrest of the killers. The blast evoked strong condemnation from all sections of the people. Various militant groups denied having any hand in the incident.

Parashar, however, did not rule out the rise of fundamentalist forces in the state. They were sneaking into the state through the state’s border with Assam, he said.

“Following reports of the presence of ISI operatives and other Muslim fundamentalist groups in other parts of the Northeast, police have been put on alert in Manipur as Jiribam shares its border with Assam’s Cachar district,” the police chief said.

Two suspected cadre of Laskar-e-Toiba, carrying explosive devises, were recently picked up by Delhi police. Police sources in Imphal, however, said that there was no confirmation that the arrested duo from Manipur were members of the Pakistan-based militant outfit.

“We are not provided with details of the arrested persons,” a police source said.

Another senior police officer said about two years back, some documents were found suggesting the presence of ISI operatives in Manipur. However follow-up action did not yield any result, he added.

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