Three killed in car blast in Punjab ahead of polls

Chandigarh, Jan 31 (IANS) At least three persons were killed in a powerful blast in a car near a rally of a Congress candidate near Punjab’s Bathinda city on Tuesday evening, police said.

The incident in Maur Mandi town, about 200 km from here, came days before polling in the assembly elections, slated for February 4 (Saturday).

Nearly 15 people were injured in the blast which occurred close to where Congress candidate Harminder Jassi was addressing a gathering and came as he had just finished his speech.

The injured, 10 of them in serious condition, were rushed to hospitals in Maur Mandi and Bathinda.

Jassi, who is the son-in-law of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was whisked away by his security personnel following the blast.

Eyewitnesses said that the white Maruti 800 car, in which the blast took place, was parked at the spot for some time and no one removed it despite police making announcements to get it removed.

Some alleged that a few shots were also fired towards Jassi’s car.

The eyewitnesses said that a pressure cooker, filled with iron nails and other metallic things, was found lying near the car.

The car, in which the blast took place, was completely destroyed in the incident.

Police officials rushed to the spot and were investigating the incident. They did not rule out conspiracy behind the incident.