By Matters India Reporter
Colombo, April 22, 2019: Five Indians were among 290 people killed in a string of eight powerful blasts that struck three churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The number of wounded has gone upto 500.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo said National Hospital has informed it about the death of four Indian nationals-Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar, Razeena Khadir and Ramesh.
However, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said four Janata Dal (Secular) workers were among the five Indians killed in the attacks. He added that three other workers were still missing.
Khadir was a native of Mogralputhur of Kasergod, Kerala’s northernmost district bordering Mangaluru.
The blasts – one of the deadliest attacks in the island nation’s history – targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a Protestant church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday Mass was in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene said seven persons had been arrested in connection with the blasts.
The National Tawheed Jamath outfit is suspected to be behind the blasts, Sri Lankan minister Rajitha Senaratne said on April 22. The seven suicide bombers, who had carried out the attacks, were Sri Lankan nationals, he added.
An explosion went off on April 22 in a van near a church in Colombo when a squad of Special Task Force and air force were trying to diffuse the bomb, Reuters reported.
The Sri Lanka Police also found 87 bomb detonators at Colombo main bus station, a day after the island nation was shaken by serial blasts.
The police have arrested 24 persons in connection with the blasts.
Late on April 21, authorities defused an improvised pipe bomb on a road leading to the main terminal of the Colombo airport. Social media services continued to remain blocked in the country to curtail the spread of false information and ease tensions until the probe into the blasts is concluded.
Razeena Khadir, who had become a Sri Lankan citizen, was buried in Sri Lanka on April 22.
The officials of Non Resident Keralites Affairs, or NORKA, offered all help to her relatives to bring her body to Kerala.
The NORKA authorities had frequently contacted Khadir’s relatives and Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. However, the relatives decided to hold the burial in Sri Lanka.
Khader had arrived in Colombo along with her husband to meet their relatives engaged in business. Razeena was staying at Colombo’s Shangri-La hotel where one of the blasts took place. She and her husband Khader Kukkodi are settled in Dubai.
On the day of blast, Razeena had gone to see off her husband to his workplace in Dubai and returned to the hotel. She was supposed to return to her native place on April 22, said her relatives.
She and her husband had arrived at Colombo only 10 days ago to spend vacation with her brother and family. They rented a room in the hotel after visiting various places there.
She had also told some other relatives in Colombo to join them for breakfast at the hotel.
As they were late, she went to the restaurant for breakfast just when the blast took place.