Over 150 Dead As Serial Blasts Hit Sri Lanka, Indian Embassy Issues Helpline Numbers

A seventh explosion has been reported at Dehiwela, near Sri Lankan capital.

A series of explosions hit high-end hotels and churches across Sri Lanka on Sunday, April 21, killing at least 156 people and leaving over 400 injured.

The blasts are reported to have occurred in three luxury hotels — the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La — located in the heart of Colombo while the three Catholic churches which were targeted during Easter Mass are St Anthony’s Church in the capital, St Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, and a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province. Meanwhile, another explosion, the seventh, has been reported in Dehiwela, near the Sri Lankan capital, Reuters has reported quoting police. An official told AP that at least two of the blasts were suspected to have been caused by suicide bombers.

The first explosion was reported at St Anthony’s Church. The other blasts followed within half an hour.

Sri Lanka’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, expressed his shock in an address and appealed for calm. The President also said he had ordered the police special task force and military to investigate who was behind the attacks and their agenda.

The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, wrote on Twitter: “I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today.

“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she is in constant touch with the Indian high commission in Colombo and is keeping a watch on the situation.

For Indian citizens in Sri Lanka seeking any sort of assistance or clarification, the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka has tweeted a few helpline numbers.

Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 70% are Buddhist, 12.6% Hindu, 9.7% Muslim and 7.6% Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census. There have been no immediate claims of responsibility.