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Explosives were hidden in pressure cooker: Patil

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 08, 2006 13:41 IST
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Explosives hidden inside a pressure cooker and a timer device were used to trigger blast in the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Twin blasts rock Varanasi

Patil, who visited Varanasi along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi late Tuesday night, said that the Centre was providing all assistance to the state government in maintaining peace in the temple town.

"I have been informed that the explosive was kept in a pressure cooker, which had Ammonium Nitrate and a timer device," he told reporters after flagging off a BSF expedition to Mount Everest.

"The Centre as well as the state government will try to nab those responsible for the blasts as soon as possible and ensure that they are punished," he said, adding, "There is no need to fight each other or indulge in a blame game. We have to be united in our fight."

Politicising the blasts will help terrorists

Earlier in the day, Patil, in a statement tabled in Rajya Sabha amid pandemonium over the twin blasts in Varanasi, assured that Government remained firmly committed to combating terrorism.

Warning that the Varanasi temple was targeted to cause communal tension in the country, Patil appealed to everyone to ensure that such acts of terror by some desperate anti-national elements do not disturb peace and public order.

Giving details about the incident, Patil said as per the initial information received from the state government, the two blasts had occurred almost simultaneously at around 6.20 PM. As many as 14 people, including a woman and a child, were killed and 103 injured, he said, adding that injured had been shifted to hospitals for treatment.

Patil said an ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh had been announced for the next of kin of those killed, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries. The home minister said the Centre reviewed the situation immediately after these blasts and state governments were sensitised to step up vigil and take all precautionary measures to ensure communal peace and harmony.

Patil said additional forces - 5 companies (500 personnel) of Rapid Action Force and 10 companies (1,000 personnel) of PAC - were deployed in Varanasi for maintenance of peace and public order. Observing that the Centre is in constant touch with the UP government and is closely monitoring the situation, Patil said the state authorities have entrusted the investigation of these blasts to the Special Task Force.

"No arrest has been made in this regard. The state government is taking all possible steps to nab the perpetrators of the blasts and the Central government will render all possible help and assistance," he said.

Observing that the government remained firmly committed to combating terrorism, Patil said, "All of us have to ensure that such acts of terror by some desperate anti-national elements do not disturb peace, public order and communal harmony in the country and will not be allowed to undermine our determination to combat, control and contain violence."

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