Ahmedabad remains in grip of fear, toll crosses 50

July 28th, 2008 - 4:03 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Ahmedabad, July 28 (IANS) Amid fresh security arrangements ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit here, fear was still palpable in the areas hit by Saturday’s serial bombings as police Monday continued investigations. While the toll crossed the 50 mark, according to officials, police confirmed 21 synchronised bombings pegging the number of injured at at least 200.

With two columns of men in olive fatigues conducting flag marches around the city Sunday, police began detaining suspects, checking vital leads of the bicycles to which explosives were strapped.

The Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) arrested Abdul Halim Maulavi from Danilimda area. He was wanted in connection with the communal violence of 2002 and a case was registered against him in 2003-04.

Police sources said Halim was not directly involved in the serial blasts though he could provide vital clues about the elusive killers. Halim allegedly acted as an operator for a terror outfit and helped send men to Pakistan and Bangladesh for terrorist training, they said.

The DCB formed 10 teams for the investigations under the supervision of Joint Commissioner of Police Ashish Bhatia and Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhay Chudasama.

A number of cycle traders in the city were being questioned by police to find out the details of the culprits.

Unconfirmed reports said the DCB had detained nearly 100 people by Monday morning for questioning.

While normalcy returned to most parts of the city, those affected by the blasts continued to remain on the edge.

People in the affected areas, all but one of them in eastern Ahemdabad and populated largely by the working class, were not sure if their trauma had ended or just begun.

“The siutation is normal. The traffic is normal. There is no reason to fear,” Deputy Inpector General (Intelligence) V.J. Gautam told IANS.

There was extra security, especially at the Civil Hospital and the L.G. Hospital where most of the injured were being treated, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Shivraj Patil were set to visit the city later in the afternoon.

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