A Sikh priest was among three persons injured when an explosion ripped through a gurdwara in Germany’s western city of Essen as India expressed ‘distress’ on Sunday at what is being deemed as a deliberate act.
Eyewitnesses have spoken of ‘a kind of bomb’ that exploded at the entrance of Nanaksar Satsang Darbar Gurdwara around 7 pm (local time) on Saturday where a wedding was taking place.
About 200 people, including many children, were present at the wedding that began very late and was ongoing when the explosion occurred, the Bild newspaper reported quoting an eyewitness.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who is in Iran, said she has asked the ambassador of India to Germany, Gurjit Singh, to take up the incident at the “highest level”.
“I have asked @AmbGurjitSingh to take this up at highest level with German authorities and convey our deep concern,” she tweeted.
Reacting to the incident, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Distressed to hear of an explosion in a gurdwara in Essen. Our Mission is following up with local authorities on ground situation,” he said.
Consulate general of India in Frankfurt, on its Twitter handle, said that a team from the consulate led by Raveesh Kumar, the consul general, is on his way to Essen to visit the gurdwara to meet with the injured and discuss the situation with city police.
Singh said German police are investigating various angles after the blast and that authorities at the mission are in touch with those at the federal and local level.
“Concerned at explosion @Gurdwara Nanaksar Satsang Darbar Essen last evening. Granthi Kuldeep Singh injured and in hospital.our team on way,” Singh tweeted.
A 60-year-old suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalised while two 47- and 56-year-old men had minor injuries, the report said, but did not specify if all of them were Sikhs.
The injured included the ‘granthi’ (priest) on whom the whole pane of glass had fallen due to the impact.
A police spokesperson said that the explosion was probably caused deliberately.
A masked man wearing dark clothes fled in an SUV, according to several witnesses from the scene.
A part of the wedding party was still in the building, the other part in the adjacent ballroom. The explosion was so violent that windowpanes of the adjacent buildings were broken. The building was heavily damaged, the report said.
Three men were arrested following the explosion over suspicion that they were in the black SUV, which had previously been seen in the vicinity of the crime scene.