'Vital leads' in Manipur temple explosion probe

Security agencies on Thursday got some 'vital leads' as they probed an attack on a temple in Imphal in Manipur.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2006 22:37 IST

Security agencies on Thursday got some 'vital leads' as they probed an attack on a temple in Imphal in Manipur on Wednesday that killed four people and wounded 34, even as 10 injured foreign nationals including three US citizens were being evacuated.

"We are working on the case and have got some vital leads although we cannot divulge any details at this stage," senior police official Radheshyam Singh said.

Unidentified terrorists tossed a Chinese-made grenade at the temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the heart of Imphal when Janmashtami festivities marking Lord Krishna's birthday were going on on Wednesday evening.

There were some 10,000 devotees, including about 10 foreign nationals, when the blast took place. The nationalities of many of them were not immediately known.

"There was an Iranian woman among those injured and we are providing a security blanket in the hospital where they were being treated," Singh said.

The official said all the other foreign nationals who came to take part in festivities were safe, although he was unable to give details of their nationalities.

There were plans to evacuate all the 10 foreign nationals, including the three Americans, from Manipur in a special aircraft.

"We are yet to get details of the evacuation plan," another senior police official said.

A 50-year-old American, Bryan Nash, who was injured in the explosion, was battling for life at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.

"Nash's condition is still stated to be very critical by doctors who had operated upon him on Wednesday night," Singh said.

Manipur is home to about 19 rebel groups with demands ranging from secession to more autonomy. Most of the terrorist groups belong to the majority Metei community, most of them Hindus.

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

"The attack is highly condemnable," the People's Liberation Army (PLA), a frontline, outlawed rebel group in Manipur, said in a statement.

First Published: Aug 17, 2006 22:37 IST