21 blasts, more than 50 dead in Muslim terror attack in Ahmedabad – Details
Posted by jagoindia on July 28, 2008
Blast toll revised: 21 blasts, more than 50 dead
Amitabh Sinha,NEERAJ CHAUHAN ,Parimal Dabhi
July 28, 2008
The number of blasts that rocked Ahmedabad on Saturday evening was revised to 21 on Sunday, with more bombs and explosives being recovered near Bangalore and in Ahmedabad and Surat. Police said SIMI hand was suspected in the Gujarat attacks.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil was summoned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday and asked to provide a detailed brief on the bomb blasts which struck over two days in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, leaving more than 50 dead and above 200 injured. Manmohan Singh, who also met National Security Advisor M K Narayanan apart from top officials of the Home Ministry, was scheduled to visit Ahmedabad on Monday along with Patil and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
States across India have been put on high alert. In communally sensitive Ahmedabad, the Army staged flag marches while the Centre promised all help to the Narendra Modi Government. The Centre is planning to call a meeting of DGPs of all states soon, said Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, while a meeting of chief ministers may also be on the cards.
An activist of outlawed outfit SIMI, identified as Abdul Halim, was said to have been picked up in Delhi in connection with the Ahmedabad blasts following a tip-off by the Gujarat Police. But a Delhi Police spokesman denied any knowledge of the arrest.
Sources said as many as 100 people had been detained in Ahmedabad in raids conducted overnight. Among those picked up was Abdul Halim Maulavi, who was accused in 2003-04 of sending 33 youths from Ahmedabad to Pakistan for terrorist training. “Halim has been arrested in connection with an old case, though we may get some leads from his interrogation in the present blasts,” said a senior official.
In Surat, a live bomb was defused near a hospital while two cars were found laden with explosives. One of the cars was seized from Punagam area on the outskirts of Surat city. Powder material, gelatin sticks and shrapnel were recovered from the car bearing the number plate GJ-6-CD 3569. Vadodara Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said the registration number was fake.
Police located another car with explosives at Heerabagh locality of Surat, Police Commissioner R M S Brar said, while a live bomb was found near Nupur hospital in New Citylight area of Surat.
In Ahmedabad, police defused a live bomb found lying in a garbage can in Amraiwadi area. Officials said preliminary investigations revealed that ammonium nitrate was used as an explosive material, while LPG cylinders were used to increase the impact of the blast at Civil Hospital. While initially it was suspected that a suicide bomber carried out the hospital blast, police have ruled this out saying initial investigations showed the bomb was kept in a car at the trauma centre.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ashish Bhatia said the investigations had been handed over to the Crime Branch.
The Army conducted flag marches in the sensitive Madhupura and Asarva areas of Ahmedabad. “As a precautionary measure, the Army has been called out,” said Additional Commissioner of Police Mohan Jha.
The two days of mayhem, which saw more than 25 explosions in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, have brought further embarrassment for Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who has been heavily criticised for not doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks.
There have been at least 13 major terror strikes, starting from the attempt to storm the disputed structure in Ayodhya in July 2005, in his tenure. In none of these incidents, which includes such deadly attacks as the one on the local trains in Mumbai in 2006 and at a busy market place in Delhi in 2005, has any perpetrator been brought to justice.
Before meeting the Prime Minister, Patil met senior officials at his residence where information that had so far emerged from the two incidents was analysed as well as preventive measures that needed to be taken.
Details emerging from investigations in the Bangalore blasts suggest that the terror groups are aiming to maximise the damage. Sources said about 2 kg of ammonium nitrate was used in each of the explosives in Bangalore, while an unexploded device was found in a cement casing. This was done probably to intensify the explosions, though ironically they may have helped reduce the impact.
The use of circuit boards in the blasts in Bangalore, unlike timer devices, also indicated that the terrorists were trying to innovate and keep the investigators confused.