Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seventeen blasts rock Ahmedabad, 29 killed, many injured

Ahmedabad, July 26: At least seventeen serial blasts in crowded market areas in the space of 60 to 70 minutes rocked the Gujarat capital on Saturday night leaving 29 killed and injuring above 100.

The low-intensity explosions occurred at eight areas of Maninagar, Isanpur, Narol circle, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar and Sarangpur bridge, Sarkej and Odhav and created a wave of panic.

There were two blasts in Mani Nagar and the first blast occurred in this area at 6.45 pm. The second blast in Ahmedabad occurred near LG hospital. Mani Nagar is the constituency of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Ahmedabad blasts came a day after the multiple explosions in Bangalore in which two persons were killed.

The injured have been rushed to civil hospital and LG hospital.

Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said in New Delhi there were eight blasts. Unconfirmed reports said there were 13 blasts.

The explosion in the sensitive Sarkej area occurred in a CNG bus.

Some of the bombs were believed to have been placed in cycles eerily similar to the Jaipur blasts on May 13 in which 65 persons died. 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 in 2007.

President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm.

Mangled remains of a bus, cycles, motorcycles and auto along with splattered blood was all that was left after nearly a dozen serial bomb blasts ripped through the city of Ahmedabad.

Complete panic spread as people ran for their lives almost leading to a stampede in the areas where the blasts occurred.

One body lay on the road waiting for quick removal by police who had descended on the scene trying to keep away curious onlookers and vehicles.

What lay right in the middle of one of the roads was a state government CNG bus ripped through from the middle as one of the blast had taken place in it.

The outer body of the bus was completely shattered even as surprisingly most of the seats remained intact including the CNG tank.

Blood was seen splattered inside the bus and near the foot board.

Muslims along with Hindus could be seen rushing injured persons to the ambulances.

The scene outside civil hospital was just short of a riot with people thronging the hospital even as ambulances with sirens were seen driving right between them.

"There is heavy traffic jams in areas around Mani Nagar, the CM's constituency where one of the blasts took place. Number of ambulances are also seen zipping around," said Udit, a city resident.

Forensic personnel could be seen scurrying through the blasts scenes even as policemen tried to maintain a cordon.

Medics rushed dozens of wounded people to hospitals, leaving behind trails of blood on sidewalks as the series of bomb blasts rocked areas of Ahmedabad's residential and market areas.

In Bapu Nagar, the blast shattered windows of a bus and half-destroyed its roof. A black-coloured Hero Honda Splendor motorcycle was found abandoned near the blast site in Mani Nagar.

Security forces sealed the Ahmedabad railway station and tightened security around at the airport. Mobile phones went off the air and landline networks got jammed for some hours as people called up families and friends to alert one another about the blasts.

People ran from the troubled areas dodging police barricades, some of them crying and others wounded, as they left shoes and trails of blood on roadsides. Policemen were seen trying to gather debris and remnants from the crude bombs for analysis.

Traffic was a standstill at check post intersections with a melee of people all around as police erected barricades to check vehicles.

Tension was palpable on city streets as the blasts came a day after nine devices exploded in Bangalore, leaving two people dead and 12 injured.

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi condemned the blasts and 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 other areas where the blasts occurred at Maninagar, Isanpur, Narol circle, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar, Sarangpur bridge, Sarkhej, Odhav, Sardar Patel market, Civil hospital, Juhapura, Ambur tower building and Raipur.

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.

Some of the bombs were placed in tiffin boxes strapped to cycles eerily similar to the Jaipur blasts on May 13 in which 65 persons died.

Television channels claimed they got an e-mail from little known outfit called 'Indian Mujahideen' to say they were responsible for Saturday's blasts. The same outfit had claimed responsibility for the blasts in Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh.

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