Blasts in Guj, Malegaon kill 8

2 10 2008

Modasa Mirrors Mehrauli: Youths On Bike Throw Bag With Explosive: TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Source: TOI

Ahmedabad/Mumbai: In near simultaneous attacks across neighbouring states, two crude bombs hit Malegaon in Maharashtra, killing seven — including a 12-yearold girl — and injuring 30, and Modasa in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, killing one and injuring 10 others.
The Modasa attack mirrored the one last Saturday in Mehrauli in Delhi. In both cases, youth on motorcycles threw a plastic bag containing low-grade explosive, killing innocent bystanders. The blast in Modasa took place on the eve of Navratri on Monday at around 9.30pm, hours after the recovery of 17 crude bombs in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad.
The Malegaon explosion took place around the same time in Bhikku Chowk area outside a building that used to house the SIMI office, leading to suspicion among authorities that it could be a retaliation to the Indian Mujahideen strikes in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi. The blast in communally sensitive Malegaon led to police fighting off a mob of violent protesters. The wounded were rushed to the nearby Noor Hospital and Faran
Hospital. Two of the wounded were reportedly injured when police opened fire to disperse the mob. Three policemen were also reportedly hurt in the violence.

A Hero Honda motorbike, which was parked at the blast site, was completely mangled. Additional SP (Malegaon) Sanjay Patil said the explosion took place on the motorcycle. ‘‘Soon a huge mob gathered and pelted stones at the police. We fired five rounds in retaliation. The crowd prevented the police from entering the area. There is tension and we have summoned additional forces. The exact number of injured people cannot be quantified now, but the mob attacked us brutally,’’ an officer said.

Versions differed. While some police officers said the blasts were triggered accidentally by a cylinder, angry local residents insisted bombs had been planted and then set off. Four companies of the state reserve police force have been deployed in the troubled area. Malegaon sub-divisional magistrate Ajay More said that the situation on Monday night was quite tense.
‘‘Three policemen, including an IPS probationer, Viresh Prabhu, are injured. Prabhu was hit by a stone and has a big gash on his head. We have admitted the policemen to Wadia Hospital,’’ he said.

The Malegaon blasts took place when a special Ramzan prayer was being offered in mosques across the town. This is the second time that Malegaon has been hit by blasts. On September 8, 2006, four bombs were planted on cycles and went off in the textile town, killing 31 and injuring 297 others. Nine SIMI suspects had been arrested for the 2006 blasts.

Residents of Malegaon alleged that Monday’s blasts were a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation two days prior to Eid. ‘‘I saw people running helter-skelter on the road and youths were taking the injured to the hospital,’’ said Khaleel Ahmed, a resident.

BLOODY TRAIL Malegaon blast: Shoppers were target

Ahmedabad/Mumbai: Monday’s blast in Malegaon took place in the historical Bhikku Chowk area, hardly 300 metres from Mushwerath Chowk, the site of the 2006 blasts. Thousands of women were shopping at the time of the blasts. Bhikku Chowk is located between three mosques. The SIMI office, which is located on the first floor of a building, was functional till the outfit was banned on October 24, 2001.

In Modasa, the area of the blast was cordoned off as forensic experts rushed in to pick samples. ‘‘One person was killed and 10 injured in the blast that took place at Suka bazaar.
Police reinforcements have been rushed in to the spot while injured are being shifted to the hospital,’’ said Sabarkantha district collector M Thennarasan.

Here too, people were out shopping when the bomb was set off. ‘‘This is a minority-dominated area and people were out shopping for Eid. It is Ramzan and Shuka bazaar is usually bustling at this time,’’ said Razzak Khan, an eyewitness.

As news of the blasts reached Delhi, Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta got in touch with authorities in Gujarat and Maharashtra to take stock of the situation.

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