Four persons were killed and at least 36 seriously injured in a blast in a Krishna temple on the outskirts of Imphal on Wednesday. Among the injured were three foreigners.
[However, PTI said at least five persons were killed and 50 others, including five American and three French nationals, were injured in the incident.]
According to senior police officers in Imphal, suspected militants hurled bombs at a massive crowd that had gathered for Janmashtami celebrations at a ISKCON temple near the Tulihal airport in Imphal West district.
A 70-year-old man and an eight-year-old boy died on the spot. The condition of half-a-dozen persons taken to various hospitals was stated to be critical.
Most of the injured were women. One of them, Lakshmi, had reportedly come from the US.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi visited the injured at the hospital. "The blast is most probably the handiwork of one of the armed militant groups. We are yet to find out what explosives were used," a police officer said.
According to Iskcon members, devotees started gathering at the temple at 3 p.m. At the time of the blast, there were about 8,000 devotees in the temple. Janmashtami is one of the major festivals in the Imphal Valley.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. The police have tightened security around temples in the Northeast, including Kamakhya in Assam.