Security Stepped Up At Churches In Goa After Sri Lanka Blasts

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The Goa government Sunday beefed up security at the churches across the state following a string of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed over 160 people earlier in the day.

Written By Press Trust Of India | Mumbai | Updated On:

The Goa government Sunday beefed up security at the churches across the state following a string of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed over 160 people earlier in the day.

Talking to reporters, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he has given instructions to state Director General of Police Pranab Nanda to step up security around the churches.

"Security has already been tightened around the churches. I will also be talking to the Archbishop of Goa seeking his help to ensure security of churches," he said.

"Goa needs to take extra precaution as the number of churches in the state is more," Sawant said while condemning the blasts in Sri Lanka.

A string of near simultaneous blasts struck three churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 160 people and injuring over 450 others, shattering a decade of peace in the country after the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.

The blasts - one of the deadliest in the island nation's history - targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka's Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, said that there have been "many casualties including foreigners."

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"45 people died in Colombo where three hotels and a church were hit, while more than 90 were killed in Negombo and 27 in Batticaloa," hospital sources said, adding that more than 450 people were injured in the blasts.

Nine bodies of foreigners are among 45 bodies at the Colombo National Hospital, they said, adding that Americans and British citizens were among the dead.

The Colombo National Hospital spokesperson, Dr Samindi Samarakoon, said more than 300 people have been admitted with injuries.

Dr Kalanidhi Ganeshalingam, the spokesperson for the Batticaloa hospital, said over 100 have been admitted with injuries from St Michael's Church explosion.

Later in the day, a powerful blast in the capital's southern suburb near the Colombo Zoo killed two persons, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

When a police team entered a house in the Colombo north suburb of Orugodawatta to conduct a search, a suicide bomber blew himself up causing a concrete floor of a two-storey building to crash on them, killing three policemen in the eighth blast, police said.

Soon after the eighth blast, the government imposed curfew with immediate effect.

Gunasekera said that the curfew will be in force indefinitely until further notice.

No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks.

However, most of the deadly attacks in the past in Sri Lanka were carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

President Maithripala Sirisena has appealed for calm.

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