All That We Know So Far About The Blasts At A Prayer Meeting Of Jehovah’s Witnesses In Kerala’s Kalamasserry

Swarajya Staff

Oct 30, 2023, 10:41 AM | Updated 10:41 AM IST

Four bomb blasts rock Kerala at a Jehovah's Witness meeting in Kalamassery
Four bomb blasts rock Kerala at a Jehovah's Witness meeting in Kalamassery

Dominic Martin, the person who surrendered to the police hours after a series of explosions at a prayer meeting of the Jehovah's Witnesses ( a Christian sect) has been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Martin is a member of the same sect.

According to a report by Onmanorama, the Kerala police has confirmed that he had planted the explosives and visuals of the remote control used to detonate the IED were found on his phone. Officials from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are questioning Martin, it added.

The blasts at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Kalamaserry of Ernakulam district, reportedly executed through IED's placed in tiffin boxes, killed one and left atleast 36 injured.

While initially one woman was reported to have died, the death toll has now risen as two others succumbed to their burn injuries. The deceased have been identified as Leyona Paulose, Kumari Pushpan and Libina.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who was in Delhi for a CPI(M) politburo meeting has returned to the state. He has called for an all party meeting on 30 October.

Chief Minister Vijayan also announced the formation of a 21-member investigation team headed by ADGP Ajith Kumar.

According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, in a video posted on social media, Martin said, "I believe by now you all might have known about the incident that took place. There was a bomb explosion at a convention organised by the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation that has led to grave ramifications. I don't know the exact details. But I’m sure that the incident has happened. I am taking full responsibility for the incident. I was the one who triggered the bomb explosion there.

"I am posting this video to inform you why I carried out this act. I am someone who has been associated with this congregation for 16 years. They did not take things seriously and took everything lightly.

"About six years ago I understood that it was a wrong organisation and it was indulging in anti-national acts. I asked them several times to rectify their functioning. But none was ready to do that. I could not find any other way, hence I wanted to react against the wrong ideology. Since I knew clearly and understood that this organisation was dangerous to the nation, I took this decision.

"I gave a detailed thought before making this decision. This wrong ideology has to be brought to an end in this country. I am saying with full conviction that this organisation is not needed for the country. Now I am going to the police station to surrender, therefore there is no need to trace me out.

"Please don't telecast the formula that was used to trigger the explosion. No media or social media should telecast the method."

'Jehovah' is considered to be the Latinized version of 'Yahweh', a Hebrew word used to refer to God.

According to a report by The Quint, members of the sect worship Jehovah as the "true and Almighty God" and consider him to be the "Creator" and "the God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus."

It further stated that the sect does not believe in the doctrine of Holy Trinity, according to which God exists in three persons, i.e., the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit.

In 1985, a few children from the sect were expelled from a school in Kottayam for not singing the National Anthem. The sect contended that they never took part in rituals, except those in praise of Jehovah, who is their only God.

The expulsion was upheld by the Kerala High Court, which stated that there was nothing in the National Anthem, which was against any religion.

In 1987, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court order and ordered the children to be readmitted. It stated that the expulsion had violated the children's rights to freedom of expression and religion.

One of the remarks made by the Supreme Court about the case was "Even though the religion may appear strange or even bizarre to us, but the sincerity of their beliefs is beyond question", reported Onmanorama.

The blasts, which occurred a day after Khaled Meshal, a leader of Hamas, addressed a pro-Palestine rally in Malappuram, organised by the Solidarity Youth Movement, the youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, led to suspicion of Jews being targeted for the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Security has been tightened around churches in Delhi, according to a report by Times of India.

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