Three persons were killed and 15 injured in an explosion in a car near the venue of the road show of a Congress candidate at Maur Mandi here even as police did not rule out terrorism angle in the incident that came a few days before Punjab goes to polls on February 4.
The blast occurred around 8:30 PM shortly after the "jan sabha" of Harminder Singh Jassi, who is contesting from Maur assembly seat, police said.
Jassi is a relative of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Punjab Director General of Police Suresh Arora said: "After initial spot inspection, an act of terrorism cannot be rule out. But only experts can establish the cause of the blast."
As per a preliminary probe, it was a stolen car and was bearing the registration number of a two-wheeler. The chassis number of the vehicle was also found removed, police officials said, adding it was not running on gas.
"The car has been badly damaged. A burnt pressure cooker was also spotted near the blast site," police said.
Arora said a forensic team from Chandigarh will reach Bathinda in the morning to probe the matter.
"Three passersby, two adults and a boy, were killed in a blast in a Maruti car. Their identity has not been ascertained yet," Bathinda Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said.
Fifteen persons were injured in the incident. Of them, two suffered 50 per cent burn injuries and were referred to a hospital in Faridkot. Two others with 15-20 per cent burn wounds were taken to private hospitals.
Thori said he has requested the army to send bomb disposal squad to the site of the incident.
The area has been cordoned off and senior officials of district administration and police are on the spot to take stock of the situation.
The DC said the blast occurred when the rally of the Congress candidate had ended.
Punjab Police IG (Bathinda Zone) Nilabh Kishore said it is difficult to say anything about the cause of the explosion as the investigation is in preliminary stage.
(Feature image source: Twitter/@ANI)