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Serial blasts in UP
13 die, 60 injured
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 23
The state has been put on high alert after strikingly similar six cycle bombs struck terror in the crowded civil courts of Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow this afternoon. As many as 13 persons were killed and 60 others were injured in the blasts. Among the dead are four lawyers. With many of the injured in serious condition, the number of dead is likely to go up.

Bomb disposal squads later found one more live bomb each at Faizabad and Lucknow sites. Claiming to get to the bottom of the case by tomorrow principal secretary, Home, J.N Chamber said officially no organisation had claimed responsibility for the blasts till late evening.

“While a final word on the kind of explosives used in the bombs would be made only after a chemical examination of recovered live bombs, I can safely say that similar time devices were used in both the bombs found by the squad”, said Chamber.

Chief Minister Mayawati has announced ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

The serial blasts across the two holy cities and the state capital came in quick succession between 1315 and 1330 hours, the time when the lower civil court officially breaks for lunch. It is at this time when litigants, lawyers and court employees overcrowd the premises for a quick cup of tea and samosas.

In all blasts brand new cycles, which had been parked at the cycle stands in the courts, were used.

The first and the most damaging blast was at Varanasi civil court that ripped apart the sheds where lawyers sit and stamp vendors sell stamp papers. Three deafening blasts were heard at an interval of two minutes each.

Before the motley crowd could gather their wits, limbs shorn from bodies and shreds of flesh were flying all over the place. Officially nine have been declared dead and 45 injured. Among the dead are three lawyers.

Faizabad civil court was the scene of the second set of two blasts in which a lawyer, Radhika Prasad, a stamp vendor, Om Prakash, court munshi, Phagun Ram and litigant Lal Sahib were killed. Fourteen persons were injured in this blast.

The four more seriously injured victims are being rushed to Lucknow for treatment.

A single low intensity blast took place in the old cycle stand inside Lucknow civil court opposite Balrampur district hospital. One more live bomb with a timer was discovered from the same spot two hours later. The bomb was found inside a packet hanging on a brand new cycle parked at the same cycle stand. It was diffused and taken away by the bomb disposal squad for examination.

While officially no one was injured or killed in Lucknow, eyewitnesses said at least four persons were slightly injured and were sent home after first aid.

According to Chief Minister Mayawati the Special Task Force has been entrusted with the investigation.

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Indian Muzahideens claim responsibility

New Delhi, November 23
A terrorist organisation, “Indian Mujahideens”, today claimed responsibility for the serial bomb blasts in Uttar Pradesh where about 13 people were killed in six blasts in Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow.

The e-mail from guru_alhindi@yahoo.fr address received by a private TV channel claimed that the blasts were targeted against lawyers as they had thrashed terrorists and refused to take their cases.

The e-mail, whose authenticity was doubtful, was received by the channel just a few minutes before the blasts.

It said that “Islamic raid” would be conducted against lawyers within few minutes because the police apprehended “two innocent groups had framed them in fake charges.” It claimed that the lawyers in these places “beat up innocent group members and refused to take their cases and also not allowed others to take up their cases.” — UNI

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Sketches released

Lucknow, November 23
The Uttar Pradesh police tonight released sketches of three suspected terrorists behind the serial blasts at Faizabad and Lucknow. While sketches of two suspected terrorists were released by the Faizabad police, one similar sketch was released by the Lucknow police. — UNI

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US, UK condemn UP terror attacks

New Delhi, November 23
The United States and Britain today strongly condemned the serial bomb blasts in Uttar Pradesh, saying the attacks were targeted against the institutions of law and justice and called for strengthening the fight against terrorism.

British High Commissioner to India, Richard Stagg, described it a “worrying development” that the judiciary had been targeted.

“We condemn all forms of terrorism. It is a particularly worrying development that the judiciary and the legal system have been attacked. Our thoughts are with the affected families,” the High Commissioner said in a statement.

Earlier the US said such acts strengthened people’s resolve, including “India's friends in the international community,” to defeat terrorism.

A statement issued by the US embassy here said the terror attacks in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi, were apparently directed against the institutions of law and justice. — UNI

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