At Least 3 Killed in Car Explosion at Maur Mandi in Bathinda
At least three persons were reportedly killed in a powerful blast in a car near a rally of a Congress candidate near Punjab's Bathinda city on Tuesday evening, police said.
Picture for representation.
Chandigarh: At least three persons were reportedly killed and six others injured in a powerful blast near a rally of a Congress candidate in Punjab's Bathinda city on Tuesday evening.
Police officials suspect a pressure cooker filled with Improvised Explosive Device or IED exploded inside a Maruti car.
The incident took place at Maur Mandi, about 200 km from Chandigarh, close to where Congress candidate Harminder Jassi was addressing a gathering at that time.
The dead included a child who was travelling in the car. All the injured persons were rushed to hospitals in Maur Mandi and Bathinda.
The incident came days before polling in the assembly elections, slated for February 4.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and party's chief in Punjab Amarinder Singh expressed concern over the blast.
"Extremely concerned to learn of the blast during a Congress Rally in Maur, Punjab. I share the grief of the families who lost loved ones in this blast and pray for the quick recovery of the injured (sic)," he tweeted.
Singh termed it as a "conspiracy against Congress, which is set for a landslide victory in the assembly polls".
The incident has proved that "armed criminals" have been let loose by opposition parties in a "desperate" bid to "scuttle" Congress's ride to a sweeping win in the elections, he said in a statement.
Singh said the situation has become volatile with the entry of AAP-sponsored outsiders and "criminal gangs" given a free hand by the Badal government to create "mayhem" during the polls.
He appealed to the Election Commission to deploy additional central security forces in the state to ensure peaceful polls.
"The Nabha jailbreak and the Fazilka incident have exposed the complicity between criminals and the Akali leadership. The Naxal-Khalistani nexus promoted by AAP has transformed the state into a tinder-box waiting to explode," he said.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the explosion.
He said the blast was the "direct result of the nexus between AAP and radical elements".
"We have been asking the Election Commission to take note of the manner in which AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal is consorting with extremist forces. Today's bomb blast proves that our apprehensions were correct and that radical elements have infiltrated into Punjab," he said in a statement.
"It has been reported that there were twin ED devices and that the scooter and car used for the attack sported fake numbers and even the numbers of their chasis and engine had been struck off," he said.
Badal urged the poll panel to keep a strict watch on radical elements.
"It would be best to watch the activities of undesirable elements who have entered the state in the name of canvassing for AAP. These people are being funded to foment trouble in the state. If they are not nipped in the bud there could be more such incidents," he said.
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