Sunday, September 14, 2008

Delhi serial blast

At least 18 people were killed and 70 injured in five serial blasts in a span of 45 minutes when terrorists targetted three crowded market areas in the heart of the Capital this evening 9September 13). Bringing back memories of the pre-Diwali terror strike in Sarojini market in 2005 that left 68 dead, the blasts rocked Connaught place, about a km from Parliament, Ghaffar market in Karol Bagh in Central Delhi and the M Block market in posh Greater Kailash in South Delhi. Home Minister Shivraj Patil said that 18 people have died and many others injured in five blasts that took place in a span of 45 minutes. Patil said the blasts have been engineered by people who want to create disharmony and disturb the social texture and expressed confidence that their designs would be defeated by people maintaining social harmony. Indian Mujahideen, a shadow amalgam of banned SIMI and Lashker-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for the blasts through an e-mail sent to news organisations around the same time when the blasts took place. A young boy claiming to be an eye-witness said that two men in black clothes planted something in a dustbin in the Central Park in Connaught place which exploded later. Of the 70 injured admitted to RML and other hospitals and some of them were said to be in a serious condition. Two people were believed to have been detained in connection with the explosions. All the major markets in the Capital were shut as a precautionary measure shortly after the blasts. Today's blasts come on top of the serial blasts in Jaipur in May in which 65 people were killed and the explosions in Ahmedabad in July that left 49 dead. There were serial blasts in Bangalore in which two people were killed, a day before Ahmedabad blasts. The first explosion rocked Ghaffar market of Karol Bagh at 6.15 PM when its was bustling with Saturday evening shoppers for the foreign goods available in many of the shops there. The explosive was kept near a Maruti car and the impact of the blast was so severe that a three-wheeler autorickshaw was thrown up several feet in the air. This was followed by two blasts in Connaught Place-- one in Central park and one near a commercial tower in Barakhamba area and two in Greater Kailash in South Delhi. While at least eight people were believed to have been killed in Karol Bagh, four or five deaths occurred in Connaught place. The explosives were planted in dustbins in Connaught place area while in Greater Kailash one was in dustbin and another on a bicycle. At least two unexploded bombs were recovered outside Regal cinema house in Connaught place and near India Gate. The blast sites at the five areas were spattered with blood and several vehicles lay mangled as shattered blasts triggered panic with people runing helter-skelter. Several siren-blaring ambulances rushed to take the injured to hospitals. In RML hospital alone there were nine bodies. 35 injured were admitted in this hospital. One of the two explosions in the Connaught Place area took place near Gopal Das Bhavan which houses private offices and banks. In the GK-I blast, some people were injured and ten shops damaged in the twin explosions that occured at around 6:40 pm. Prelimnary examination of the blast sites showed that the explosions were of low intensity where ammonium nitrate in an integrated circuit had been used in almost all the explosions. Delhi police sets up helpline Delhi police tonight set up a helpline to provide information about victims of a series of explosions in the national capital which claimed at least 18 lives. The number is 011-23490312. All bodies are kept at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital while over 70 injured were being treated at various hospitals including Lady Hardinge, Safdarjung, Jasaram and Gangaram, a senior police official said. Chronology of Delhi blastsOct 29, 2005: 50 people killed and 70 injured, including some foreigners, in three explosions in two busy markets and near a bus in Delhi.May 22, 2005: One person killed in serial blasts in two cinema halls in Delhi.Dec 30, 1997: Four commuters killed and about 30 injured in a bomb explosion in a bus near Punjabi Bagh.Nov 30, 1997: Twin blasts in Red Fort area leaves three killed and 70 injured.Oct 26, 1997: Twin bomb blasts in Karol Bagh market leaves one dead and 34 injured.Oct 18, 1997: One killed, 23 hurt in twin bomb blasts in Rani Bagh market.Oct 10, 1997: One killed, 16 injured in three bomb blasts at Shantivan, Kauria Pul and Kingsway Camp areas.Oct 1, 1997: Thirty injured in two bomb explosions near a procession in the Sadar Bazar area.Jan 9, 1997: 50 injured in bomb blast opposite the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO.May 23, 1996: At least 16 people killed in bomb blasts in Lajpat Nagar Central Market.PM, Sonia, other leaders strongly condemn serial blasts Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday (September 13) joined leaders of other political parties in strongly condemning the serial blasts in the national capital which claimed several lives. Soon after the blasts, the Prime Minister appealed to the people to maintain calm and expressed grief at the loss of lives, a PMO spokesman said. Gandhi described the blasts as a dastardly act of cowardice and said those behind the incident will not be spared as "they have no place in our civilised society." CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the incident reflected laxity in the country's security system. "The incident proves that there is laxity in our security system which needs to be investigated. It is a condemnable act," he said. The party's Delhi unit said the incident was aimed at disturbing the communal amity in the capital. CPI National Secretary D Raja said such cowardly act should be condemned in strongest terms and no culprit should be allowed to go scot free. "People should stand united at this juncture," he said. BJP blames Centre for the blasts The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday (September 13) squarely blamed the Centre for the serial blasts in Delhi saying that it failed to act despite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi warning of such a possibility. Addressing the party's Vijay Sankalp rally which marked the beginning of its campaign ahead of a series of elections in the country, senior party leader L K Advani said, "Modi had told the Prime Minister, Home Minister, National Security Advisor about the conspiracy of the terrorists which was revealed during interrogation by Gujarat Police conducted on the Ahmedabad blast accused." "It was not just an apprehension. Government cannot say it is an intelligence failure. One of our Chief Ministers said it was going to happen in the country's capital," he said. Modi had told the Prime Minister about ten days back that during the course of investigation police found that the Ahmedabad blast accused had a hand in other blasts and the terrorists also had a conspiracy of conducting serial blasts in Delhi. The rally saw party president Rajnath Singh and Advani attacking the Congress for being soft on terror and failing on all fronts. The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate singled out PM Manmohan Singh for the Delhi blasts and said it is "a worthless government". BJP top brass including all BJP Chief Ministers except Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje attended the rally where BJP President Rajnath Singh declared that if BJP came to power it would ensure that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was executed without delay. The rally also saw Advani throwing a challenge to the Congress and ruling coalition to dissolve Parliament and go in for early election giving an opportunity to the people to make their own comparative assessment of previous NDA rule and the present UPA regime. Shiela Dikshit appeals for calm Soon after the series of bomb blasts rocked the national capital this evening, Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit appealed the people to maintain peace and calm at this crucial hour. "We must keep calm and peace at this moment of hour otherwise those behind this sinister attack will get the impression that they have succeeded in their aim," Dikshit told reporters. Terming them as the enemies of the nation, she said we should show our courage to face the situation and should not panic. Condemning the blasts as a sheer cowardly act, Dikshit said the situation should not go out of hand otherwise it would be victory for those who are responsible for the blasts. "The act of violence will not be tolerated and the accused will be brought to the book within the ambit of law," Dikshit said. ssWe as a government are here to help the people in need. We will try our best to adequately compensate families of the victims and bear all the medical expenses of the injured, the Chief Minister added. We have called an urgent cabinet meeting tomorrow to discuss the medical and monetary help to be given to the victims of bomb blasts.
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