Ludhiana: Just two days after the blast at the Ajmer Dargah, terror has raised its head again, this time in Punjab.
Seven people are dead and over 32 injured after a massive blast ripped through the Shringar Cinema Complex in Ludhiana on Sunday night.
So far, no terror outfit has claimed responsibility but DIG, Intelligence Jagdish Mittal said Khalistan Commando Force, Khalistan Zindabad Force and Muslim Jehadi groups are behind the blast.
"We suspect Babbar Khalsa in collaboration with JeM or LeT, funded by ISI," he said.
Police have detained 22 people for questioning.
The blast occurred during the screening of a Bhojpuri movie and since it was a holiday, the multiplex was packed to capacity.
“The bomb exploded just after the interval, maybe 5-10 minutes after the break. Most of the people present were from UP and Bihar,” says an eyewitness who was also injured in the blast.
The injured were rushed to the nearby CMC hospital for treatment. But traffic jams initially delayed the evacuation.
Eyewitness reports suggest the bomb blasted from under a seat in the crowded theatre.
The intensity of the blast was such that it created a big crater in the hall and smashed windowpanes. But the exact nature of the explosives used is yet to be determined.
“The explosion had a huge impact. The forensic team is coming and we will be able to say something only after the examination is complete,” said Ludhiana SSP R K Jaiswal.
The country has been put on high alert following the incident. Officials say it is too early to say if this blast is linked to the attack in Ajmer.
“It's too early to draw similarities with the blast at Ajmer Sharif until further investigations happen,” Minister of State, Home Affairs, Sri Prakash Jaiswal.
Meanwhile, the government has also announced relief for victims’ families. “The state government will bear medical and post-medical expenses including the expenses to rehabilitate them. Rs 2 lakh will be given to the victims’ families,” said Chief Secretary (Punjab) Ramesh Inder Singh.
"It's premature to say who's behind the blast. The investigators have reached there and they will give their report after the probe," added Singh.
After a grim night in Punjab, the question bothering police is who and what could put Punjab/ Ludhiana back on the list of targets, shattering the calm many years after militancy disappeared in the state.
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