Forensic experts examining the blast site at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Kalamassery, Kerala, have made a startling discovery. The individual responsible for the blast, Dominic Martin, constructed a homemade bomb using low-grade explosives extracted from firecrackers and approximately 7-8 liters of petrol. This revelation sheds light on the crude nature of the explosive device, which was employed in the tragic incident.
People familiar with the matter have disclosed that the bomb was triggered using a radio frequency system, specifically a mobile phone. This method implies that Martin had to be within a close proximity of 400-500 meters to detonate the device. The findings have been shared with both the Kerala Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as part of the ongoing investigation.
A counterterrorism official commented on the explosive device, describing it as a “sutli” bomb, assembled by combining firecracker explosives with petrol. The intention behind using such a device was to create an incendiary effect, causing a fire within the convention center and maximizing damage. The mobile phone, acting as a radio-frequency trigger system, was employed to initiate the improvised explosive device (IED). This method typically has a limited range, requiring Martin’s physical presence to complete the electric charge and trigger the IED.
The blast occurred at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Centre during a three-day zonal conference of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian collective, on the final day. Tragically, three individuals, including a 12-year-old girl, lost their lives in the explosion.
Dominic Martin surrendered to the police and claimed responsibility for the bomb blast. He alleged that the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses were “anti-national and seditious.” Investigations have revealed that Martin most likely acquired the knowledge to construct the “sutli” bomb from online sources, where videos illustrating the fabrication of such crude explosives are readily available.
“Sutli” bombs, often used during festivals and gatherings in India, are known for their simplicity and accessibility as a source of explosives. In 2018, an anti-terror agency uncovered a module inspired by the ISIS terror group, planning to create “sutli” bombs after watching online instructional videos. Operatives of the Indian Mujahideen, a defunct terror group, also attempted to fashion such devices using internet resources.
Currently, Martin is under interrogation by a team of Kerala Police and the NIA to ascertain further details about his motive in orchestrating the blast. 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 diligently verifying Martin’s background and associations as the probe continues to unfold.