Dominic Martin is an Indian citizen who made headlines as the mastermind of the 2023 Kerala Blasts at a Christian religious gathering.
Dominic Martin aka Martin V D was born in Kochi (formerly known as Cochin), Kerala, India. As per one source, he was born in 1973 (age 50 years; as of 2023), The New Indian Express according to another source, he was born in 1975 (age 48 years; as of 2023), Samayam Malayalam and according to his driver licence which he provided to his landlord, he was born on Saturday, 19 March 1966 (age 57 years; as of 2023). His zodiac sign is Pisces.
He studied till 10th class; however, he acquired good communication skills in English and worked as a spoken English trainer. After living in India for many years, he moved to Dubai to make a living before returning to India. The Times of India
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name was V P Dominic. He has a brother.
Wife & Children
His wife, Mini, is a homemaker. He has a daughter who works in Infopark in Ernakulam and a son who lives in the UK.
He followed Christianity. He was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian congregational sect that originated in the USA in the 19th century; however, he did not believe in their teachings. Onmanorama
He lived at House No. 92, along the Comrade Khader Road, Kuthapady, Thammanam for around 5 and a half years before his arrest in October 2023. As per his rent agreement, his permanent address is Velikkakath House, Chilavannoor, Kadavantra. The Hindu
One source claimed that he had been living in Dubai for 15 or 17 years and worked as an electrician foreman in a construction firm there before returning to India in 2023, and Jaleel B.A., his landlord, claimed that Dominic Martin was working as a Spoken English Teacher and used to give English classes at a rented office in Anchumuri and went to Dubai in 2021 after he lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jaleel further said that Dominic returned to India in August 2023 when his daughter was admitted to hospital due to Dengue. Reportedly, he did many odd jobs in Dubai. Onmanorama The Hindu
Kerala Bomb Blasts
On the morning of 29 October 2023, blasts took place at the Jehovah’s Witnesses’s Zamra convention centre in Kalamassery, Kerala, India in which many died and several got severely injured. Police later confirmed that the blast was done using an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Rumours spread after the blasts that the bombings were done by Islamic extremists as a few days before the blasts, many people attended a virtual program where Khaled Mashal, a prominent member of the Islamic political and military organisation named Hamas, spoke through virtual mediums.
Motive, Confession, & Surrender
On 29 October 2023, Dominic Martin did a Facebook Live in which he confessed to making the IEDs (bombs) and conducting the bombing alone. He said during the live stream that he had been a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the last 16 years; however, he later realised that the convention’s teachings were anti-national and its practices led to the spread of hate between the communities. He revealed that the sect urged its members to not endorse any signs of nationalism with India such as not singing the national anthem or songs, not serving in the military, and telling young children to not share food with their classmates and friends.
He also alleged that he requested the head of the sect to change their teachings several times, but when he saw that the sect was not changing its ways, he decided to bomb the congregational hall to teach them a lesson. His Facebook livestream was later deleted. He later went to Kodakara police station and surrendered himself. Onmanorama
According to reports, Dominic Martin left his house in Thammanam around 5:30 a.m. and arrived at the convention hall in Kalamassery around 7:30 a.m. He carried IEDs (bombs) in two shopping bags which he placed around the central area of the hall around 8: 15 – 8: 30 a.m. Around 9:30 am, he moved to the exit area of the hall and pressed the remote after which the bombs exploded; he recorded the explosion on his mobile phone and left the location. He arrived at Miracle Residency in Kodakara around 10:45 a.m., rented room number 410 where he did the Facebook Live and left the hotel room within 15 minutes.
Around 1 pm during the afternoon, he went to Kodakara Police Station where he was arrested and later shifted to the Crime Branch office in Kalamassery. Interestingly, relatives of Dominic’s wife were present during the meeting, and he called his wife multiple times to ask them to leave the meeting; however, his wife was doing some household chores and did not attend the call after which he decided to go ahead with his pre-decided plan. The New Indian Express
Reaction & Investigation
When Dominic Martin’s wife, Mini, saw his Facebook Live, she went to their landlord, Jaleel B.A. and informed him about the Facebook Live. Media reporters later went to their house and tried to talk to her; however, she, along with her daughter, did not come out to answer their questions. Jaleel spoke about Dominic and said that he was a peaceful and quiet man and never talked about religion with others.
He also said that Dominic always paid rent on time and mentioned that a few months before the blasts in October 2023, Dominic brought a barbecue grill to the house and said that his daughter liked grilled meat. Dominic also told Jaleel that he should not get worried if he saw a little bit of smoke coming out of the roof. The Hindu During the investigation, Dominic said that he learnt the basics of bomb-making on YouTube.
It was further alleged that he made the bombs with only Rs 3000, using 8 litres of petrol and also triggered the explosion with a mobile phone signal; it was alleged that he made the bombs in a room at his rented house while his family slept in another room, and some other sources claimed that he made the bombs at his apartment in Athani. The Times of India National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials said after the initial questioning that Dominic is highly proficient and intelligent in matters related to electronics.
Arrest & Custody
A case was registered against Dominic Martin on 30 October 2023 under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), section 3(A) of the Explosive Substances Act and section 16 (1)(A) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) following which he was presented in the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on 31 October 2023. Sessions Court judge Honey M Varghese sentenced him to remand till 29 November 2023.