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Suspect behind Shillong bomb blast identified: Meghalaya Home Minister

No one was injured in the blast as the market was almost empty with shops remaining closed on Sundays due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, police said.

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Shillong: Meghalaya Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui on Sunday said a suspect, who carried out the improvised explosive device (IED) blast outside a wine shop in this state capital, has been identified.

No one was injured in the blast as the market was almost empty with shops remaining closed on Sundays due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, police said.

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The explosion occurred at about 6.30 pm this evening outside the staircase of Shillong Wine Store. Condemning the blast, Rymbui took to the microblogging site Twitter, and confirmed that it was an IED blast. “Suspect have been identified and investigation is on. I am sure that Police will be able to nab all the people involved,” the Home Minister tweeted, even as he assured that peace will be maintained at all costs.

Earlier, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had tweeted, “Strongly condemn the blast at Police Bazar, Shillong this evening. An attempt to disrupt peace and bring harm is nothing but a cowardly act.

“Perpetrators will not be spared. We will ensure peace prevails in the state,” he had added. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress Legislator and Opposition Chief Whip, George B Lyngdoh hit out at the state government for the Sunday blast.

“The low intensity blast in Khyndailad, which is in the heart of Meghalaya, is another strike to dislodge peace in the State. The State Govt has repeatedly been caught napping & failing to protect the people,” Lyngdoh tweeted, strongly condemning the “act of cowardice”.

Meanwhile, the State police has launched a manhunt to nab those behind the blast. “Investigation is on to find out the persons, who planted the explosive,” Sylvester Nongtnger, from the district police of East Khasi Hills, told UNI over phone.

This is the second blast that has occurred in a market place in Shillong after an IED blast in Laitumkhrah market, in which two persons were injured on August 10 last year. The banned outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council had taken responsibility of the explosion. Three days later, police had raided the residence of surrendered HNLC militant Cheristerfield Thangkhiew.

During the raid, Thangkhiew attacked the police with a knife. In retaliation, police opened fire and killed the surrendered militant in self defence. There was a huge protest over the manner in which the surrendered militant was killed and the government subsequently constituted a judicial inquiry to probe the incident. 

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