A Kerala woman on holiday in Sri Lanka died in the blasts on Easter Sunday. She was among the 207 people who died in a string of bomb blasts at high-end hotels and churches in Columbo this morning.
PS Razeena, 58, and her husband – residents of Kasargode who had settled in Dubai — were in Colombo to meet her relatives, reported news agency IANS. They were staying at the Shangri-La hotel, one of the three hotels which were targeted in the serial blasts carried out by suicide bombers.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has expressed condolence over her death, reported IANS.
Condemning the attacks, Mr Vijayan in a statement said steps were being taken to bring back the body of Ms Razeena to Kerala.
A spokesperson for the state agency of the Kerala diaspora confirmed the same, reported IANS.
“We need to keep in mind that the attack happened on the Easter day shows the communal intolerance. It’s time to save the countries from the clutches of such communal intolerance. We stand by the families of those who lost their dear ones,” Mr Vijayan was quoted as saying in the statement, reported news agency PTI.
More than 200 people died in a series of eight blasts, which ripped through hotels and churches holding Easter services today. Dozens of foreigners were among the people who died in the blasts.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has condemned the attacks – the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago – as “cowardly”. The government has imposed an immediate and indefinite curfew across the entire country of 21 million people.
The Lankan authorities have not yet been able to determine the nature of the blasts. The government has called an emergency meeting.
Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officials 10 days ago, warning of planned suicide bomb attacks on churches as well as on the Indian High Commission in Colombo, reported news agency AFP, citing documents they have seen.
The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Sri Lanka’s Negombo town near Colombo.
A top priest at St Sebastian’s Church said he witnessed pieces of flesh thrown to the walls, on the sanctuary and outside the church.
He estimated more than a thousand people had come to the church for Easter Sunday “because it is a special day”.
(With Inputs From PTI, IANS)
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.