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Monday, December 11, 2023

Arrest Made in Jehovah’s Witnesses Meeting Blast in Kerala

In a chilling turn of events, police in India have apprehended a man linked to a series of deadly explosions that shook a Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering in the southern state of Kerala. This incident resulted in the loss of three lives and left over 50 individuals wounded during a program organized by the Christian-based religious movement on a fateful Sunday.

The Arrest of Dominic Martin

The individual in custody, identified as Dominic Martin, was arrested under an anti-terror law. What’s particularly intriguing about this case is that he had previously disseminated a video where he claimed responsibility for the attacks and subsequently surrendered himself to the authorities.

The Explosions that Shattered a Peaceful Gathering

The horrifying events transpired during the concluding day of a prayer session hosted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the town of Kalamassery, located approximately 10 kilometers (about six miles) northeast of the bustling port city of Kochi (Cochin). An astonishing congregation of more than 2,000 people had gathered for this three-day event, completely unaware of the devastation that would unfold.

TA Sreekumar, a regional spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, shared that the first blast occurred in the heart of the hall, with two subsequent explosions echoing mere seconds later on either side of the venue. Tragically, two women who were in attendance lost their lives on the very day of the incident, while a 12-year-old girl, suffering from extensive burns amounting to 95%, succumbed to her injuries on the following day.

The Motive Behind the Attacks

Hours after the catastrophic explosions, Dominic Martin took to Facebook, posting a video in which he claimed to be a former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In his chilling confession, he asserted that he orchestrated the blasts out of anger towards the religious group’s teachings. However, Mr. Sreekumer, a representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, clarified to Reuters that Mr. Martin was “not a registered member.”

Background of the Accused

Police disclosed that Mr. Martin hails from the state of Kerala and had previously been employed in Dubai. The Kochi city police commissioner, A Akbar, affirmed on Monday that they are confident of Mr. Martin’s involvement in the crime based on his confession and the supporting evidence they have amassed. Moreover, Mr. Martin is said to be cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation.

Nationwide Impact and Heightened Security

The repercussions of these blasts reverberated throughout the nation. In response, security measures were significantly bolstered in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The unsettling incident has sparked widespread concerns and led to increased vigilance.

Understanding the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah’s Witnesses constitute a religious movement that holds a distinctive belief system. They assert that conventional Christian churches have veered away from the authentic teachings of the Bible and emphasize the imminent arrival of Armageddon. With approximately 8.7 million followers worldwide and a substantial presence in India, boasting some 60,000 adherents, this group is known for its active engagement in door-to-door evangelism in Kerala.

In conclusion, the tragic events that unfolded during the Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering in Kerala have left an indelible mark on the nation. The arrest of Dominic Martin underscores the complexities of the case, and as the investigation unfolds, more details are likely to surface. The immediate aftermath has been marked by heightened security measures, a somber atmosphere, and an urgent quest for answers as India grapples with this devastating incident.

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