Curfew clamped as Jaipur mourns victims of terror (Second Lead)

May 14th, 2008 - 11:07 am ICT by admin  

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt and Sahil Makkar
Jaipur, May 14 (IANS) As the sun rose blood red over the pink city Wednesday after the night of terror that killed 61 people and injured over 100, panic stricken people came out in hordes to buy life’s essentials. They knew a curfew would be clamped over most of the Rajasthan capital at 9 a.m. Grim faced residents flocked newspaper stalls to read minute details of the seven blasts that sent shock waves across the nation, while many prayed at the famous Chandipole Hanuman temple, where a bomb blast had killed at least six people.

“As soon as the temple opened at 5 (a.m.) we came here to pray for those killed in the blasts,” 50-year-old Ganga Devi told IANS.

“People like me also came early so that we could purchase daily provisions before the area is shut down,” she said.

The temple bells could be heard chiming from a distance as devotees prayed.

Curious onlookers gathered at the blast sites, marred with blood, pellets and flowers. Each had its horror story to tell. The withered red rose petals indicated that the florist would sell his wares no more. Damaged iron shutters of shops near the blast sites testified to the force of the explosions.

Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government declared state mourning Wednesday, a curfew was imposed in most parts of the pink city, so called because a medieval ruler had ordered all buildings in the walled city painted pink, a tradition that endures.

Rajasthan Home Minister G.C. Kataria said: “As a precautionary measure we have decided to impose a curfew from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in parts of the city.”

Inspector General of Rajasthan Police Pankaj Singh said: “We have imposed curfew in the areas under 13 police stations to maintain law and order. During the curfew only those holding funerals for their loved ones who died in the blasts will be allowed to move about.”

The curfew has been imposed in areas that fall under the jurisdictions of the police stations Lal Kothi, Adarsh Nagar, Transport Nagar, Manak Chowk, Subash Chowk, Ram Ganj, Galta Gate, Bhrampuri, Bhatta Basti, Kotwali, Nahargad, Sanjay Circle, Jalu Pura and Sadar.

Many security personnel from various agencies have been deployed in the city.

Doctors at the government run SMS Hospital said 61 people had died in the blasts but the toll might increase as at least 15 of the injured were in critical condition.

Doctors said many of the victims had shrapnel injuries. The carefully choreographed blasts at six spots went off within a space of 15 minutes and occurred in the Chandpole, where a Hanuman temple that draws a large number of devotees is located, as well as at Manak Chowk, Badi Choupar, Chhoti Choupar, Sanganeri Gate and Johari Bazar. All these areas are home to a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.

Police said one explosive was defused by the bomb disposal squad near the Hanuman temple. Preliminary investigations revealed that cycle ballbearings were used in the explosions to inflict shrapnel injuries on the victims. A clock timer was also found at one of the blast sites.

“Such acts of terror will not be tolerated and the perpetrators will be brought to book,” Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said soon after the blasts.

Tuesday’s explosions were among the worst terror strikes in India after the Mumbai suburban train blasts in July 2006 that killed over 180 people.

As Jaipur joined the list of big cities on India’s terror-stricken map, angry people blamed the security officials for intelligence failure.

“What are our government and police doing? No one took care of the victims who were lying in pools of blood and crying for help. We were the ones who removed them to the hospitals in our personal vehicles,” said Om Prakash, who lost his son in one of the blasts.

“The guilty should be hanged and strict action must be taken against guilty police officials for their laxity,” he added.

The market at the stretch where the bomb blasts occurred remained shut, but there were many who hoped life would return to normal.

“My only son got injured in the blast. But I came to open my flower shop, hoping I would be able to earn my daily wage. Life has to go on. We have to be brave in such adversity,” said Shambhu Dayal.

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