A man was today seriously injured when a powerful bomb exploded at a crowded exhibition area thronged by foreigners here.
The bomb exploded at around 11 AM at Hapta Kangjeibung ground where 'Sangai festival', in which many foreigners from Thailand, Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries were taking part, was being celebrated.
The bomb was rigged to a rickshaw parked near the gate, officials said. Police identified the injured as Kora, a rickshaw puller.
He was paid Rs 20 by suspected KCP militants to carry the bomb, they said. The site of the blast is about 50 metres away from the newly-constructed 'City Convention Centre' which would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohon Singh on December 3, official sources said.
The place is at a distance of 50 feet from the the All India Radio, Imphal. The injured was taken to Regional Institute of medical Science and hospital. Sources said a faction of the KCP (Kangleipak Communist Party) had called a 72-hour general strike in Manipur which would end tomorrow at 6 AM tomorrow in protest against the prolonged economic blockade on national highways.
Thousands of people gather at the ground during the 'Sangai festival'. Foreigners, mainly from south-east Asian countries, participate in large numbers and stalls sell foreign items. 'Sangai' is a rare brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur.