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BLASTS ROCK DELHI, 60 DEAD
Markets teeming with Divali shoppers, DTC bus targeted
Ravi Bhatia/Manish Kumar Singhal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 29
At least 60 persons were killed and over 200 injured in a series of powerful explosions that ripped through two congested markets and a running DTC bus in the Capital this evening, on the eve of Divali festivities, causing panic among the citizens.

Such was the intensity of the blasts that many people in the vicinity of the explosion sites were left in a dazed condition. The explosions were heard as far as a few kilometres away.

The injured have been admitted to various hospitals and patrolling in the Capital intensified following the blasts that occurred in close succession when the markets were crowded with shoppers.

Among the injured were a large number of women and children.

The areas around the explosion scenes in the congested Pahar Ganj area in Central Delhi right in front of the New Delhi railway station, main market in Sarojini Nagar in South Delhi and the Gobindpuri area, where the explosion ripped through a DTC bus, have been cordoned off to facilitate investigations.

There was total chaos and panic in the markets following the blasts, as people scurried for safety even as those injured cried for help and screamed with pain.

The police and the Delhi Fire Service personnel had a tough time restoring order because of the crowds thronging the two markets.

The explosions, all of them reportedly triggered by a remote control, are believed to have been meticulously planned and timed.

The police suspects the hand of some of the known terrorist groups that have been active in the Capital and the adjoining areas of Western Uttar Pradesh.

Senior police officers, including Police Commissioner K.K. Paul, were supervising the investigations and relief operations.

Security at the airport, railway stations and inter-state bus terminuses has also been tightened.

The police was in touch with their counterparts in the neighbouring states and border checkpoints had been activated.

According to the police, the first explosion took place in the narrow lane of the congested Pahar Ganj area around 5.38 pm when the market was teeming with Divali shoppers.

The blast occurred in front of a jewellery shop and was apparently triggered off by a timer. The explosive is believed to have been concealed in a motor cycle, which was parked in front of the shop.

Even while the police and firefighters were responding to the explosion call, another blast ripped through the congested Sarojini Nagar main market in South Delhi, causing similar mayhem and injuries.

The explosion also caused a major fire that engulfed several shops stocked with clothes and gift items for the festival shopping.

It took the firefighters over an hour to douse the flames and prevent them from spreading to the adjoining shops. At least half a dozen shops were destroyed in the fire.

People fled in panic while the injured cried for help resulting in chaos.

While the law enforcement authorities were grappling with the twin situation, a powerful explosion ripped through a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus in South Delhiís Gobindpuri area, killing two passengers instantaneously and injuring over 10 others.

All three explosions were triggered within minutes of one another, indicating the precise planning by the perpetrators.

The police said it was apparent that the motive of the suspects was to cause maximum damage and to spread panic on the eve of Divali festivities.

Till late in the night, experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and explosive experts from some of the central police organisations, like the National Security Guard (NSG), were examining the blast scenes to identify the explosive used, which in all probability was research developed explosive (RDX).

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