Chandigarh, February 1: Taking death toll to five, Two more children injured in yesterday’s Bhatinda blast have succumbed to their injuries.
Three people were killed and at least 15 people were injured in the blast in Maur Mandi town on Tuesday evening. Congress candidate Harminder Jassi was addressing a gathering near the place of blast when car with bomb exploded.
The injured, 10 of them in serious condition, were rushed to hospitals in Maur Mandi and Bathinda.
Jassi, who is a relative of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was whisked away by his security personnel following the blast.
Eyewitnesses said that the white Maruti 800 car, in which the blast took place, was parked at the spot for some time and no one removed it despite police making announcements to get it removed.
Some alleged that a few shots were also fired towards Jassi’s car.
The eyewitnesses said that a pressure cooker, filled with iron nails and other metallic things, was found lying near the car.
The car, in which the blast took place, was completely destroyed in the incident.
Police officials rushed to the spot and were investigating the incident. They did not rule out conspiracy behind the incident.
Polling for the assembly election is slated for February 4 (Saturday) in Punjab.
Political blame game starts ahead of polls
Within hours of the blast, the political blame game started with Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and ruling Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal blaming the incident on the Aam Aadmi Party’s alleged nexus with 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. The bomb blast proves that our apprehensions were correct and that radical elements have infiltrated into Punjab in league with AAP,” Badal said in a statement.
While pointing out that the bomb blast was carried out in the same way as during days of terrorism in Punjab, Badal said: 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 chassis and engine were scrapped off.
Badal asked the Election Commission to keep a strict watch on radical elements who, he alleged, had become active in the state after a long time.
Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh termed the blast as a “conspiracy against the Congress, which was set for a landslide victory in the assembly polls”.
“The incident has proved my worst fears that armed criminals and goondas had been let loose by the rival political parties in a desperate bid to scuttle the Congress ride to a sweeping win in the elections,” Singh said.
Demanding further strengthening of security in poll-bound Punjab, Singh said: The situation is highly volatile. With the entry of AAP-sponsored outsiders tensions have escalated.
“It was futher triggered by reports of criminal gangs being given a free hand by the Badal government to create mayhem during the polls.”
He said that he had already communicated his fears to the Election Commission, pointing out that more than 50,000 outsiders brought to Punjab by AAP from other states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has further charged the tense atmosphere in the state.
Singh and Badal have already condemned Kejriwal’s controversial stay at the house of a Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) extremist in Punjab recently.
AAP have reacted sharply to the allegations and put forth the blame on Badals for this terrorist activity.