At approximately 0940 local time (0410 UTC) on 29 October 2023, multiple explosions occurred during a Jehovah’s Witness convention at the Zamra International Convention and Exhibition Center located in the Kalamassery area of the southern Indian city of Kochi, situated in Kerala state. Initial reports indicate that three blasts occurred in succession during a prayer meeting attended by approximately 2,000 people in the convention center. A regional spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses stated that the first blast occurred in the center of the hall, followed by two simultaneous blasts on either side of the meeting room. The explosions killed at least three people and injured 36 others, including 10 victims who suffered critical injuries. Preliminary reports indicate the cause of the explosion was at least one improvised explosive device placed inside a tiffin lunch box.
Following the explosions, local security officials deployed bomb squads to the convention center in order to conduct an investigation. A former member of Jehovah’s Witness has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Police officials are working to validate his claims. Kerala authorities increased security measures across the state in response to the blasts and initiated searches for explosives in public areas — including airports, buses and train stations. Travelers in Kerala state should anticipate increased security presence in public areas as investigations into the blasts remain underway.