Two people, including a woman, have been injured as a major commercial centre in Meghalaya's capital city Shillong was hit by a low-intensity blast today afternoon - four days ahead of the 75th Independence Day. The injured were immediately rushed to the nearby Nazareth hospital.
According to the Meghalaya police, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off around 1:30 PM in Shillong's busy Laitumkhrah market near a tea shop in the parking lot.
"During the preliminary investigation, it was ascertained that blast occurred due to an IED. Two people sustained minor injuries in the incident. The wall of the tea shop and the glass windows of the adjacent building were damaged," a statement by the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police Sylvester Nongtnger said.
Mr Nongtynger along with bomb squad teams and officials of other agencies of both the state and the central government took stock of the situation.
Sainkupar Nongtraw, general secretary of the banned outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) which had claimed responsibility of the blast, expressed regret that a woman was injured in the incident even as the bomb was placed away from crowded areas.
The outfit warned that it will plant a bigger bomb targeting "outsiders" and urged people of the state against participating in the Independence Day celebration on Sunday.
Last month, the outfit had carried out another IED attack near the quarters of the Reserve Police in East Jaintia Hills district. Earlier this year, HNIC had also carried out an attack inside a cement plant in the district. Three people were arrested then in connection with the blast.
Meanwhile, panic has gripped the city. The superintendent of police urged locals to remain calm and report any sightings of abandoned or suspected items to the police.