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Ahmedabad: Army conducts flag marches, toll 45

July 27, 2008

The army on Sunday staged flag marches in communally-sensitive Ahmedabad where the death toll in the synchronised bomb blasts rose to 45 as several states went into high alert in the wake of terror strikes in Ahmedabad and IT hub Bengaluru.

Ahmedabad Blasts

An activist of outlawed militant outfit Students Islamic Movement of India, identified as Abdul Halim, was arrested in Ahmedabad in connection with the Ahmedabad blasts following a tip-off by the Gujarat police.

The police defused a live bomb found lying in a garbage can in Amraiwadi area in Ahmedabad where army columns conducted flag marches in vulnerable areas to instill confidence among its shaken residents.

In New Delhi, Home Minister Shivraj Patil chaired a high-level meeting to review the security scenario in the country and assured all possible help to the Narendra Modi [Images] government in its hour of crisis.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], who is likely to visit Ahmedabad on Monday, was briefed by Patil, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and top officials of the home ministry on the security situation in the country.

In Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad raided an apartment in the Palm Beach Road area and seized a computer in connection with the probe into the e-mail sent to TV channels purportedly by a little-known 'Indian Mujahideen' threatening more blasts in the country.

With seven more people dying overnight, the death count in the serial blasts in Ahmedabad rose to 45 on Sunday, Gujarat Health Minister Jainarayan Vyas said.

The number of injured was 145, he said after a Cabinet meeting presided over by the chief minister.

Several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, sounded red alerts heighting vigil in sensitive areas.

The army conducted flag marches in sensitive Madhupura and Asarva areas in Ahmedabad, which was still coming to terms with the multiple blasts that tore through crowded places in a span of 70 minutes.

"As a precautionary measure, the army has been called out and is conducting flag marches in vulnerable areas," Additional Commissioner of Police Mohan Jha said.

Right now, the situation was under control, he said adding the army had not been deployed anywhere in the city.

The Gujarat police conducted raids overnight and detained a number of people in connection with the serial blasts.

They said preliminary investigations revealed that ammonium nitrate was used as an explosive material in the bombs, adding LPG cylinders were also used to increase the impact of the blast at the Civil Hospital.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ashish Bhatia said the investigations had been handed over to the crime branch.

He said the bomb that went off at hospital's trauma centre was kept in a car.

Bhatia, however, said police had not found any evidence so far to suggest the involvement of a suicide bomber in the hospital blast.

On the searches at the Navi Mumbai flat this morning, a Mumbai ATS officer said, "We are verifying personal details of the individual living there."

The contents in the seized computer were being verified to find out if the threatening e-mail was sent from it, he said.

Text & Photograph: PTI

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