An explosion in a temple pond at Manampathi in Kancheepuram district left two dead and four others injured late Sunday afternoon.
The explosion took place a little after 3 pm at an unused pond behind the Gangai Amman temple at Manampathi. According to the police, six men who had ventured to the pond to celebrate the birthday of their friend had discovered a part of a rocket launcher on the tank bed while cutting a cake. The men had then allegedly tried to force open the device and triggered an explosion.
While one man died on the spot, five others who suffered injuries were admitted to the Chengalpattu government hospital for treatment. One of the injured succumbed to his injuries on Monday at the hospital. The pond was deserted at the time of the explosion except for the six individuals, since a private company which had been employed to desilt the pond had halted work on Sunday.
Officials investigating the site recovered an unexploded shell of a rocket launcher on Monday and suspected that the youth might have across the launcher’s artillery fuse igniter on Sunday which triggered the explosion. The police have cordoned off the entire pond for the time being, while the state bomb squad, which had been pressed into service to determine the cause of the explosion buried the shell into the tank bed. Further, the bomb squad will conduct a thorough check of the area on Tuesday with the help of sniffer dogs.
Police also assured citizens that the explosion was not part of an act of terrorism in the state, given that Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai, and the neighbouring Coimbatore district have been put on red alert for the past few days.