Five killed, 20 injured in Manipur blast (Lead)

August 1st, 2011 - 6:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Imphal, Aug 1 (IANS) At least five people were killed and 20 injured in a powerful explosion Monday at a crowded marketplace in the capital of India’s restive northeastern state of Manipur, officials said.

A police spokesperson said the blast took place around 2.15 p.m. at the busy Sangakpham area on the outskirts of Imphal.

“The bomb was probably planted on a parked scooter and was of high intensity,” Manipur police chief Y. Joykumar Singh said.

“So far, five people were killed and about 20 injured. The injured were shifted to local hospitals with multiple wounds.”

The multi-purpose market was teeming with people when the explosion took place.

“Most of those injured or killed were either shoppers or vendors,” Singh said.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who also holds the home portfolio, visited the spot and ordered an inquiry.

No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We are yet to identify the group responsible for the blast,” the state police chief said.

Police, however, said the explosion is part of an offensive ahead of India’s Independence Day celebrations Aug 15.

There are an estimated 19 militant group active in Manipur, bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.

All the rebel armies have called for a boycott of the national day celebrations accusing New Delhi of exploiting the region.

Militant groups in Manipur and most of the northeastern states have long been boycotting Independence Day or Republic Day celebrations and have all along been targeting security forces and vital installations, including explosions in the run-up to such national functions.

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