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Kerala Blast – A Closer Look at the Crude Bomb Components

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Recent forensic analysis of the Kalamassery blast in Kerala has shed light on the nature of the explosive device used. According to experts, the blast was caused by a crude bomb fabricated from low-grade explosives and approximately 7-8 liters of petrol. The self-confessed operative behind the attack, Dominic Martin, is believed to have used components such as firecracker explosives to construct the bomb. Notably, a mobile phone was used as a radio frequency trigger to detonate the explosive device, requiring Martin to be within a proximity of 400-500 meters for the triggering mechanism to function. These findings have been shared with both the Kerala Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to aid in their ongoing investigations.


The device in question, referred to as a “sutli” bomb, was designed to ignite a fire, leading to maximum damage. The primary goal was to set the convention center ablaze, which indeed transpired, resulting in a tragic incident. A mobile phone served as the radio-frequency trigger system, a common method in such cases, but it typically has limited range, necessitating Martin’s presence near the site to complete the activation process.


The devastating blast at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Kalamassery occurred at approximately 9:30 am on Sunday, during the final day of a three-day zonal conference organized by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian community with a significant following in Kerala. The incident claimed the lives of three individuals, including a 12-year-old girl.


Dominic Martin, who later surrendered to the police, has admitted responsibility for the bomb blast and denounced the teachings of the religious sect as “anti-national and seditious.” Authorities suspect that Martin may have acquired the knowledge to assemble the “sutli” bomb from online sources, as the internet contains instructional materials for constructing such crude explosive devices.


“Sutli” or twine bombs are unfortunately prevalent in India, and often used during various events and festivals. They are easily accessible and have been utilized in the past for unlawful purposes. Notably, a module inspired by the ISIS terror group was discovered in 2018, planning to manufacture “sutli” bombs after viewing online tutorials. Operatives of the now-defunct Indian Mujahideen terror group had also made attempts to create “sutli” bombs by following online guides.


At present, Martin is undergoing intensive interrogation by a joint team consisting of Kerala Police and NIA agents. Their objective is to uncover more details about his motives and connections. Given the gravity of the incident, the NIA is expected to assume control of the investigation, as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act has been invoked in the initial police report. Authorities are meticulously verifying Martin’s background and affiliations as part of the ongoing inquiry into this tragic event.

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