Two children on Wednesday succumbed to injuries sustained in explosions at a Congress rally in Punjab’s Bathinda district on Tuesday night, PTI reported. Three people were killed and more than 11 people were injured in the blast, which took place during an event held for the party’s candidate from Maur, Harminder Singh Jassi. The candidate is a relative of Dera Sacha Sauda chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has Z-plus security and is a target of several Sikh extremists, Hindustan Times reported.
The candidate’s Maur Mandi office administrator, Harpal Singh Pali, was among the victims. The party candidate’s driver Jassi told The Tribune that he heard three blasts, and that he was certain it was a pre-planned attack. “The moment I heard the blast, I pressed the accelerator of the Toyota Fortuner [Jassi’s car]. By then I heard two more blasts,” he said.
Investigators found a pressure cooker at the scene, which may have been used to trigger the explosions. “There were improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in a scooter and a car and were detonated with remote control,” a police official told Hindustan Times. The police said there were two cars at the scene with fake licence plates. The numbers of chassis and engine had been removed as well.
An aide of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal told the publication that clues pointed it to being a terror attack. Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora told The Indian Express: “Forensic and ballistic experts are reaching the spot tomorrow morning. As per preliminary investigations by local police, we cannot rule out the terror angle.”
Harminder Singh Jassi was not injured in the explosions. His nephew Vikram told The Indian Express that he was in a state of shock and could not comment on the attack.
Party national vice president Rahul Gandhi has expressed his grief over the incident.