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2 dead, 50 hurt in Delhi cinema blasts
Tribune News Service and Agencies

New Delhi, May 22
Two persons were killed and 50 injured this evening after powerful blasts rocked two cinema halls showing ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’ in Central and West Delhi causing considerable panic in the Capital.

The police said the injured were rushed to Ram Mahohar Lohia, Lady Harding and Deen Dayal Upadhayay hospitals for treatment and kept under observation.

Around 8.30 this evening a high-intensity bomb exploded in the toilet of Satyam cinema and the other in the rear stall of Liberty cinema. While seven persons who were injured in the Satyam cinema were rushed to the DDU hospital, 44 others who were injured in the Liberty cinema were rushed to the RML and Lady Harding hospitals.

Immediately after the blasts in Liberty as also in Satyam hall in West Delhi in a span of 20 minutes and located within 3 km of each other, Delhi was put on high alert as several cinema halls in and around the national Capital, which were screening the film, were evacuated.

All cinema halls in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida, which was screening the film, were evacuated as a precautionary measure and night shows there cancelled.

Forensic experts examined the blast sites to examine the nature of explosives used in the blasts. The anti-terrorism cell of the Delhi police has begun investigations in the twin blasts.

The movie has been withdrawn from the PVR group of six to seven cinema halls in Delhi where the movie was being shown, their owner Ajay Bijli said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Police Commissioner Dr K.K. Paul and other senior police officers rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. Ms Dikshit who visited the Satyam cinema blamed the law and order situation in Delhi and said the police needed to be more alert. Dr Paul said the blast took place due to some crude devices which were not very powerful in nature.

Since it was a Sunday, a large number of persons had collected in the cinema halls and there was considerable panic after the blasts.

After the blast the power in the cinema halls went off and it also aggravated the situation causing injuries to several people.

MUMBAI: Security at the city’s cinema theatres exhibiting “Jo Bole So Nihal” has been tightened following twin blasts at cinema halls in Delhi this evening.

Special police has been posted at more than a dozen theatres in the metropolis that are screening this movie.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Javed Ahmed said while extra staff had been posted at such cinema theatres today, security measures would be tightened further from tomorrow.

Meanwhile, police control room sources said nowhere in the city had theatres screening the movie been evacuated.

PUNE: The police has been deployed at all cinema halls in the city which were screening “Jo Bole So Nihal”.

“As a precautionary measure, security has been beefed up at seven cinema halls in the city which are screening the film,” police sources said.

Meanwhile, when contacted, sources at a multiplex said the film’s screening at its theatre had been cancelled from tomorrow. Other theatres too were expected to follow suit, they added.


Alert sounded in Punjab
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
While the Punjab police sounded a state-wide alert following twin blasts in Delhi cinema halls late this evening, political, religious, social and other organisations condemned the incidents.

The Punjab’s Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, said there was no need for people to panic at all as cinema halls in the state were not screening the movie. He added that the cops all over the state had been alert in the wake of protests in some of the cities against the film.

The DGP said he had asked police officers to remain alert. The sources in the Punjab police, meanwhile, added that the Delhi police had got in touch with them following apprehensions regarding the involvement of Punjab militants. A senior police officer said though militancy was no longer organised in the state, some splinter groups were trying to get together and create panic outside Punjab. He added that the police was geared up to tackle any untoward incident in the wake of the situation in the Capital.

Noted film-maker, producer and MP from Agra, Raj Babbar expressed shock at the incident. Talking to The Tribune over the phone, he said the censor board and the producers were in a way responsible for this as they should have immediately removed the film following protests.

The SAD spokesperson, Mr D.S. Cheema, described the incident as unfortunate. He regretted that the governments, both at the Centre and the state had not taken the issue seriously or taken any precautionary measures.


PM appeals for calm

New Delhi, May 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight condemned the blasts in which two persons were killed and 50 wounded in two cinema halls in Delhi during the screening of controversial movie “Jo Bole So Nihal”.

Dr Manmohan Singh asked the people of Delhi to remain calm and assured that the government is taking all steps to ensure peace and security in the national capital, the Prime Minister’s media advisor Sanjaya Baru said.

Dr Manmohan Singh will be visiting the hospitals, where those injured in the explosions were admitted, early tomorrow morning before travelling to Ranthambore tiger reserve, Baru said. — PTI


SGPC condemns cinema blasts

New Delhi, May 22
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today condemned the twin cinema blasts in Delhi, calling them an attempt to disparage the Sikh image over the controversy on Rahul Rawail’s ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’.

“These are dastardly, inhuman acts. We condemn them strongly,” SGPC General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur said.

The SGPC said the incident in Delhi tonight had shocked it because the national Capital had seen no protest over the controversial movie. — UNI

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