NEW DELHI: A powerful blast in Manipur’s capital city Imphal on Sunday has left three migrant workers dead and four others seriously injured. This blast comes barely a week after a similar explosion on December 15 at a city market which had killed two non-local traders.

Informing about the incident and how it occurred, a police official said “An IED (improvised explosive device) that was planted by the roadside near Khuyathong area, close to Imphal market, exploded at 6 am, killing three migrant labourers on the spot and injuring four others”.

He said that the labourers, all non-Manipuris, gathered for tea in Khuyathong, which is about one km from Imphal city police station, when the blast took place, adding, that the bomb was triggered with a remote-controlled device.

All the three dead working as load men in the area hailed from Uttar Pradesh and have been identified as Kusum Pandit, 60, Lalan, 35, and Shiv Yadav, 35. Among the ones wounded, Rajkumar, 30, Lolik, 58, and Surender, 20, are from Uttar Pradesh while C. Lotha is from Nagaland.

The injured were rushed to the Regional Institute of Medical Science and Hospital and their medical condition is stated to be critical, though they are out of danger.

Senior police officials along with additional security forces had rushed to the spot and launched a combing operation to arrest those responsible for the explosion.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei, who holds the home portfolio, visited the injured at the hospital.

Ibobi announced compensation to the families of those killed and said that the expenditure for the treatment of injured would be borne by the government.

Whilst Gaikhangam attributed the blast to militants' "frustration", no militant group has yet claimed responsibility.

What is deeply worrying is that this is the third such incident in a month taking the number of non-Manipuris killed in the state this year to nine.

While two migrant betel leaf traders died when the militants exploded a powerful device on December 15 in Thangal Bazar, a 10-year old boy was killed in a blast on November 29.