Four persons, three Assam Rifles personnel and a civilian were injured when two hand grenades exploded simultaneously at the Imphal Polo ground Thursday. Police said the incident took place around 6:15 pm at the main entrance of the Polo ground, located in the heart of Imphal city.
While the injured have been evacuated to Regional Institute of Medical Science (RIMS), the condition of one of the Assam Rifles (AR) jawan is said to be critical.
The injured jawans were reportedly on sentry duty at the gate when the blasts occurred, police said. The injured civilian ran a juice shop near the gate.
“I was in the kitchen preparing for my meal when I heard two loud explosions within a second of each other. Out of fear, I laid down on the ground,” said A. Ibobi Sharma, caretaker of the Polo ground.
Police reportedly recovered one of the levers of the grenade from the blast site.
Top police officials including the DGP of Manipur rushed at the spot to take stock of the situation.
The injured AR jawans have been identified as havildar BR Prajapati of Gorakpur, Binod Kumar Nath of Assam’s Hilakandi, and havildar Chamanlal of Jammu and Kashmir while the civilian is identified as one Anilkumar Shah of Bihar.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh visited the injured at the RIMS hospital later in the evening.
Briefing media persons at RIMS, Singh condemned the blast and termed the incident as an act of cowardice.
“The bombs were hurled at a place surrounded by civilians. There could have been many casualties had an encounter ensued between the anti-social elements and security forces. I condemn it in the strongest term,” said Singh.
When asked whether there were any lapses in security arrangements, he said, “It seems like there was a communication gap between the Assam Rifles and state police”, said the Chief Minister.
He added that further information will be gathered after collecting footage from the CCTV installed in the surrounding area.