45 killed in Jaipur serial bombings (Third lead)

May 13th, 2008 - 11:51 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

Jaipur, May 13 (IANS) A string of blasts rocked the walled areas of this historic central Indian city Tuesday evening killing at least 45 people and injuring over 100, police said. “At least 45 people have been killed in seven explosions,” Rajasthan police chief A.S. Gill told IANS outside the Sawai Mansingh Hospital here where the dead and injured were rushed after the blasts.

Over 100 people were injured in the explosions at various places that were triggered by bombs placed on cycle rickshaws, Pankaj Singh, the inspector general of police of the Jaipur range, said.

He described the blasts as being of “low intensity”.

President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh immediately condemned the blasts that occurred within a space of 12 minutes in a radius of 50 metres in an area that is inhabited by both Hindus and Muslims.

“There was total chaos after the explosions and many have been injured,” said an eyewitness, Lakshmi Narayan.

“I was standing at Manas Chowk (one of the areas targeted) when a huge and thundering explosion occurred,” he added, even as he was being treated at a hospital.

Jaipur annually attracts thousands of visitors, many of them foreigners, as it forms part of the tourist golden triangle with Agra and national capital New Delhi.

The bombings prompted a red alert to be sounded in the New Delhi with security beefed up at all sensitive points, especially Metro stations and crowded market places.

The blasts targeted among others a Hanuman temple that was packed with devotees for the weekly Tuesday prayers, and a popular sweetshop, the Lakshmi Mishtan Bhandar.

“The first blast took place at 7.35 p.m. in the Manik Chowk Police Station area, the second has been in Johari Bazar area near the famous Lakshmi Mishtaan Bhandar, the third blast took place in Tripolia Bazar (where the Hanuman temple is situated) and one was been reported near Sanganeri Gate area”, another police official told IANS.

Police immediately cordoned off the affected areas and rushed the victims to the Sawai Man Singh hospital. All entry and exit points from Jaipur have been sealed, police said.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil cut short his visit to the northeastern region and was rushing to Jaipur to review the law and order situation in the wake of the blasts.

There were immediate calls for calm.

“It is very unfortunate this has happened. I appeal to the people to stay calm,” said former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who is from Rajasthan.

“I condemn this act of terrorism that was meant to create tension between the people,” said Sachin Pilot, who represents Rajasthan’s Dausa constituency in the Lok Sabha.

“We must not let terrorists to succeed in what they intended to do,” Pilot added.

In the national capital, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said: “An alert has been sounded in the wake of the Jaipur blasts.”

Additional police personnel have been deployed along with bomb disposal squads at Delhi Metro stations, at railway stations and bus terminals.

“Extra security cover has been extended to all the religious places, including the Jama Masjid, Akashardham and Iskcon temples,” Bhagat added.

Delhi Police sleuths have put road barricades at various intersections and dog squads have been deployed at railway stations. Metal detectors are in place at entry points in busy markets and security agencies are keeping a close watch over all VIP areas.

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