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'Wife's Relatives Were at Site': Who's Dominic Martin, Suspect in Kerala Blasts?

Before moving abroad, Dominic Martin worked as a spoken English teacher in Kerala's Ernakulam.

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Video Producer: Aparna Singh 

Video Editor: Karuna Mishra 

Forty-eight-year-old Dominic Martin, who has claimed responsibility for the serial blasts at a convention centre in Kerala's Kalamassery in Ernakulam district, had moved back home from Dubai – where he had been working for the past two years – just two months ago.

Jaleel BA, the owner of the two-bedroom house in Thammanam where Martin and his family reside, tells The Quint: "He and his family have been living in my house for the past five-and-a-half years. They were here when he went to Dubai during the pandemic. He didn't seem like a troublemaker and spoke very little. I had interacted with him a few times since he came back from the Dubai two months ago because his daughter was ill."

Martin, who worked as a spoken English teacher in Ernakulam, lived with his wife and daughter, who is currently employed at Kochi's Infopark. His wife is a homemaker and his son has been working in the United Kingdom since 2022.

The 48-year-old, in a Facebook live on the evening of Sunday, 29 October, surrendered at the Kodakara Police Station in Thrissur, taking responsibility for the attack at Zamra Convention Centre earlier that day, which has so far claimed the lives of three people – including a 12-year-old girl – and injured 52 others.

The blasts occurred during a prayer meeting of the Christian denomination – Jehovah's Witnesses – which Martin was formerly a part of.

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'Moved To Dubai Because He Lost His Job'

Jaleel tells The Quint that he was informed about Martin's alleged involvement in the serial blasts when his wife told him that "the police would be coming to the house soon."

"She [Martin's wife] was crying when she told me that he had put up a live video on Facebook, that he was going to surrender, and that the police would come to the house soon."

He added that he had "faced no issues from him or his family" in their five-year stay at his house.

"I barely interacted with him. When he returned from Dubai, I had asked him if he would be going back anytime soon. He then told me that he would be staying because his children are all employed anyway," Jaleel says.

He also says Martin lost his job as a spoken English teacher in Ernakulam during the pandemic, prompting him to look for jobs abroad. He subsequently moved to Dubai.

'Martin's Relatives Were at Blast Site'

Martin, in the purported Facebook live, said he "was once a believer of Jehovah's Witnesses" and that he "takes full responsibility for the bomb explosions."

He added, "I am recording this video to explain my reasons behind this act. I had been a part of this organisation for 16 years, but I didn't view certain issues seriously then, I saw them as a joke. However, in the last six years, I realised that this organisation is wrong and engages in anti-national activities."

"I realised they were propagating and teaching a highly problematic concept. They would instruct a four-year-old nursery student not to accept the candy their classmate would offer them ... Their parents are injecting such poison into the child's brain at such a young age," he further said.

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Meanwhile, Sakeer Thammanam, who is the local ward councillor, tells The Quint that Martin's wife's family is still a part of Jehovah's Witnesses – and that his mother-in-law and other relatives were at the convention centre when the blast happened.

"I spoke to Martin's wife. She told me that her mother and other family members were at the convention centre. They are all believers. His wife told me she had no idea he was going to do this," Sakeer says.

'Learnt How To Make IED From YouTube'

According to reports, Martin, who reportedly has experience working as a foreman, learnt how to make the IED – which caused the blasts – through YouTube tutorials.

He reportedly placed the IED in a bottle filled with petrol at the convention centre and operated it from a distance using a remote.

Local media reported that after the incident, Martin took a room in Koratty in Thrissur district, from where he shot the purported Facebook live. He then went to Kodakara Police Station and surrendered.

Martin also submitted supposed evidence to the police that he was the one who orchestrated the blasts. The evidence reportedly included bills received after purchasing explosive materials and batteries from various parts of the city.

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What the Police Said Earlier

Kerala ADGP (Law and Order) Ajith Kumar told mediapersons that the police were looking into all aspects of this case. "One person has surrendered in Kodakra Police Station, in Thrissur Rural, claiming that he has done it. His name is Dominic Martin and he claims that he belonged to the same group of sabha. We are verifying it," ADGP Kumar said on Sunday.

Speaking to the media shortly after the blasts, Kerala DGP Shaik Darvesh Saheb said that the explosions were caused by an improvised explosive device (IED).

"Today morning, at around 9:30-9:40 am, there was an explosion at Zamra Convention Centre. One person has died and 36 people are injured. We are examining all angles. At the same time, I would request everyone to remain calm and maintain peace."
Kerala DGP Shaik Darvesh Saheb

"Preliminary investigation says it is an IED. At this stage, I cannot say [if there's a terror angle]," he added.

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Topics:  Kerala   Bomb Blast   Members Only 

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