Malappuram: An explosive went off inside a parked vehicle on the premises of the Malappuram district collectorate, with police suggesting that the blast is similar to that of Kollam collectorate blast that took place earlier this year.
The very low intensity Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off in a car parked near the Judicial First Class Magistrate court, but no one was injured.
"A very low intensity IED was used to trigger the blast", director general of police Loknath Behera told PTI.
Asked if Kerala police was viewing it a a terrorist act, the DGP said some pamphlets and a picture of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been recovered from the spot.
Behera said had also spoken to a central agency.
NIA team to collect evidence
The blast was similar to the one at the court premises at Chittoor on April 7 in Andhra Pradesh and Mysuru in Karnataka on August 1, he said.
A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) that is probing the Mysuru blast will collect evidence from Malappuram, reports said.
Malappuram district police sources said some steel pieces were found near the blast site and it is suspected that a 'pressure cooker' was used to trigger it.
A special team has also been constituted to probe the blast.
'The Base Movement'
During a search after the blast, police found a small cardboard box with the words 'The Base Movement' written on top. The box had a number of pamphlets and a thumb drive in it.
The pamphlet in English carried notes on Mohammed Akhlaq, who was lynched by a mob in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri in September 2015 upon suspicion that his family had killed a cow and consumed its meat.
The murder of Akhlaq caused shame to the people of India and judiciary, the pamphlet added on. “Your days are numbered,” the message read in its conclusion.
It also carried a picture of Laden.
'Pressure cooker bomb'?
The blast rocked the collectorate premises and sent people into panic.
The explosive, suspected to have kept in a pressure cooker, was placed beside the vehicle of a state government official who came for a routine meeting at the district collector's office, said police.
Several other vehicles in the vicinity were damaged in the low-intensity blast that occurred in the car of district medical officer (homoeopathy).
Malappuram superintendent of police Debesh Kumar Behera, who reached the scene soon after the explosion, told reporters that it was suspected to be a 'pressure cooker bomb' and apart from the vehicle, no other damage or casualties were reported.
"A box with a name slip of 'The Base Movement' has been recovered from the site. It seems this organization was involved in such activities in Nellore, Mysuru and Kollam in the past," he said, adding that a special investigation team will be set up to probe the incident.
Police and bomb squad rushed to the spot and carried out inspections. Behra also said that presence of ammonium nitrate, used in the bomb, has also been identified.
An eye witness told Manorama News that during the time, the area smelled of gun powder.
The district collector A. Shainamol has called for a probe into the incident. Shainamol incidentally held the same position in Kollam last year when a similar explosion took place at the district headquarters there.
Similar to Kollam blast
The Malappuram collectorate blast was similar to the blast at Kollam collectorate which happened earlier this year.
An elderly man was injured when a suspected country-made 'steel bomb' kept under an unused jeep exploded inside the Kollam Collectorate in June.
Steps have been taken to probe the Malappuram blast incident with utmost seriousness, DGP Loknath Behra said in a release.
The probe would be conducted with the assistance of a central agency in the backdrop of similar blasts in the Kollam collectorate complex and in Mysuru and Chittor in Andhar Pradesh recently, he said.
A special Intelligence Team and a special team of state police have been deployed in the area, he added.
(With agency inputs)