Lankan cops probe Shahrukh concert blast

from The Navhind Times

Lankan cops probe Shahrukh concert blast

PTI, Colombo, Dec 12: Sri Lankan police were today probing the grenade attack on a concert of Bollywood mega star, Shahrukh Khan here which killed two people and injured 19, including the wife of former cricketer Ravi Shastri, as the actor and his troupe left for home shortly after the blast.

Khan was rushed from the concert straight to the international airport following the grenade attack late last night at Colombo s former race course, where the event was taking place, an organiser said.

Ms Ritu Shastri, the wife of former cricketer Ravi Shastri, was identified among the injured and taken to a private hospital, where doctors said she was treated for minor injuries and discharged after the treatment.

However, another 18 injured remained in hospital, six of them in critical condition. The two persons killed in the blast were a press photographer and a hotel employee.

None of the Indian stars were hurt, but the organisers rushed them to the airport ahead of schedule and they returned home safely, a spokesman for organisers said.

He said when the grenade went off Khan did not know what had happened and continued to play on before being whisked away by the security staff.

The injured in the blast also included children.

 Lot of people, including those on stage thought it was part of the fireworks,  a witness said.

 Then when people saw some fans bleeding, then realised something was terribly wrong. 

Witnesses were being interviewed by detectives trying to piece together what happened at the show, senior superintendent of police, Mr Sarath Lugoda said  Its premature to speculate on possible suspects,  Mr Lugoda said.  We don t have any suspects as of now. We are working with an open mind. Police special task force commandos were deployed at the venue for any explosives or grenades left behind while the police sealed off the former race course.

The concert was marred by controversy as Buddhist monks complained that the musical show should not be held as it coincided with the first death anniversary of a popular monk.

The monks, however, called off plans to protest the concert after receiving a written apology from Khan over the timing. But some of them went on the rampage continuing with their protest, prompting the police to use force.

The police arrested over a dozen men who attacked cars and fans heading to the venue of the concert.

Khan began his concert by observing a minute s silence in memory of monk Gangodawila Soma who died a year ago.

Investigators were trying to find out how a grenade had been smuggled into the tightly-guarded race course where 20,000 people were packed to see Khan and his troupe performing at the  Temptation 2004  concert, which ended in tragedy when a man lobbed a grenade over the most expensive stands.

An eyewitness said he saw a man get up towards the end of the concert and throw something at the stage. Within seconds, a blast ripped through the area.

 There was an announcement asking people not to panic. People did not know what had happened. There was no stampede. People left somewhat disappointed because they expected a grand finale, but wouldn t have expected a tragedy like this,  a witness said.

The police said the Indian stars did not know what had happened and Khan continued to sing when security guards switched off stage lights and took him away about half an hour before midnight.

Author: LMAshton
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