Serial blasts rock Ahmedabad; 29 killed, several injured
Curious onlookers watch the mangled remains of a bicycle after serial blasts struck the city, in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Photo: PTI
Ahmedabad (PTI): Terror struck Ahmedabad when 16 coordinated serial blasts ripped through the city on Saturday night killing 29 people and injuring nearly 90 sending a wave of panic, a day after multiple explosions rocked Bangalore in another BJP-ruled state.
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 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 targetting a state transport CNG bus and near the old Sangam theatre.
"As per the latest information 29 persons were killed and 88 injured," Modi told reporters late tonight.
Significantly, two blasts occured 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. 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.
Television channels claimed they got an e-mail from little known terror outfit called 'Indian Mujahideen' claiming responsibility for today's blasts. The same outfit had claimed responsibility for the blasts in Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh.
Ahmedabad police there appeared to be a similarity between the Ahmedabad blasts and the explosions in Bangalore and Jaipur.
While Modi appealed for calm, his party leader and MP from Gandhinagar L K Advani blamed the Centre and the lack of tough anti-terror laws for the rise in terror activities but would not draw conclusions about two BJP-ruled states-Gujarat and Karnataka--being specifically targeted.
Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said in New Delhi that National Security Guards(NSG) personnel were being rushed to Ahmedabad where Rapid Action Force(RAF) personnel were already deployed to restore calm in the blast-hit areas some of which are highly sensitive.
The areas where the blasts occurred were at Maninagar, Isanpur, Narol circle, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar, Sarangpur bridge, Sarkhej, Odhav, Sardar Patel market, Civil hospital, Juhapura, Ambur tower building, Raipur and Gowribhadi.
The Ahmedabad blasts came a day after the multiple explosions in Bangalore in which two persons were killed.
Police said 35 injured persons were rushed to Vadilal Sarabhai hospital while 25 injured were receiving treatment in LG hospital. Some injured were also in the Civil hospital.
President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm.
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