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Serial blasts rock Ahmedabad
Sheela Bhatt with Premal Balan and Parag Dave/PTI | July 26, 2008 19:22 IST
Last Updated: July 27, 2008 00:38 IST
At least 29 people were killed and over 100 were injured as 16 serial bomb blasts rocked Ahmedabad on Saturday evening. Cycles were probably used to plant the bombs while some were placed on buses, G K Parmar, joint commissioner of Ahmedbad police, told rediff.com.
Parmar said that the police are on the lookout for more live bombs. The explosions occurred at Maninagar, Isanpur, Narol circle, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar and Sarangpur bridge, Sarkej and Odhav and created a wave of panic.
Crowded areas 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 old 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.
"As per the latest information, 29 persons were killed," Modi told reporters late on Saturday night.
Significantly, two blasts occurred in the premises of Civil and LG hospitals where several victims of the explosions in other areas were being rushed exacerbating the already tense situation. A nationwide alert has been sounded.
A shocked Modi said the Ahmedabad blasts was a 'war against India' and a handiwork of terror groups. Declaring there should be one voice against terrorism, Modi also said there is 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 [Images].
"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.
The civic authorities have stopped plying of all the city transport buses.
Gujarat has been put on high alert following the blast. Security has been beefed up across the state, particularly in Gandhinagar, and special police teams were deployed at vulnerable places, said Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah.
He said the government would take all measures to maintain law and order.
Sources said that minutes before the blasts, the Intelligence Bureau received a mail from the Indian Mujahideen, which stated, "Stop us if you can."
A couple of bombs were reported to have been placed in tiffin boxes in a modus operandi similar to the explosions outside a Lucknow court last year.
A high level meeting of state director general of police and home secretaries will be convened shortly, said Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta.
The Ahmedabad serial blasts come a day after two people were killed in nine serial blasts that shook Bengaluru.
Bapunagar, Isranpur and Raipur, where the blasts have taken place, are considered to be communally sensitive areas.
President Pratibha Patil [Images] and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has convened a high-level meeting to review the security situation in the country.
"I do not wish to say anything other than this that a meeting will be held tomorrow at 11 am to review the security situation in the country," Patil told reporters.
He added, "Anti-national elements have been trying to create panic among the people of our country. Today's blasts in Ahmedabad seem to be part of the same strategy."
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