President calls for amity
Ahmedabad, July 26
Fourteen crowded areas in the Gujarat capital, including market places, were hit in the synchronised “low-intensity” explosions in a space of 60 to 70 minutes after the first blast-hit Maninagar at 6.45 pm. The bombs placed in tiffin boxes were strapped on to bicycles. Some of the blast sites were in sensitive areas in the Muslim-dominated city but the situation was peaceful as the night wore on.
There were three blasts in Maninagar - the constituency of Chief Minister Narendra Modi — and two in Sarkhej targeting a state transport CNG bus and near the old Sangam theatre.
A shocked Modi said the Ahmedabad blasts were a “war against India” and a handiwork of terror groups. Declaring there should be one voice against terrorism, Modi also said there was a “mastermind group and a mastermind country” behind the blasts. The people behind the attack will be “hounded out,” said Modi, who also spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Modi said the modus operandi of terrorists was same.
“The blasts were of low intensity and similar to those which hit Bangalore,” Union minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters in Kanpur.
A common feature seen at the blast sites was use of blue ballbearings in the explosions. MP from Gandhinagar L.K. Advani blamed the Centre and the lack of tough anti-terror laws for the rise in terror activities.
Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said in New Delhi that NSG personnel were being rushed to Ahmedabad where Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were already deployed.
High alert has been sounded in Mumbai and security tightened in the city. According to senior police officials, security had been beefed up at crowded places and especially places of worship like Siddhivinayak Temple in Central Mumbai, Mahalakshmi Temple in South Mumbai and all railway stations. The city police has organised nakas and several people have been questioned in connection with the blasts. Yesterday, eight low-intensity blasts had rattled Bangalore in Karnataka. President Pratibha Patil has in a message to the people of Gujarat appealed for peace and communal harmony at this juncture.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of those dead.He announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 for those injured.
The perpetrators of the string of bomb blasts in Ahmedabad struck with such impunity that even hospitals where the blast victims were being rushed for treatment were targeted.
Two explosions occurred on the premises of civil and LG hospitals in the second cycle after a short pause when 14 bombs went off in the space of one hour in a synchronised attack.
A doctor at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital said one blast occurred near the trauma centre of the hospital exacerbating the already tense situation.
“This blast killed nearly 15 persons and injured around 40 persons,” said the doctor.
The dead were among the 29 persons who lost their lives in the 16 serial blasts that rocked the city.
Some reports said four city hospitals were targeted.
There were three blasts in Maninagar — the constituency of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. — PTI
New Delhi, July 26
Claiming responsibility for the serial blasts, a little known group called the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ claimed responsibility for the blasts.
The e-mail sent from firstname.lastname@example.org id also said that Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, R. R. Patil and Mukesh Ambani are also on their target list.
Attacking the Maharashtra government the mail said, “We wonder at your memory. Have you forgotten the evening of 7/11/2006 (Mumbai serial blasts) so quickly and so easily?” — PTI