3 bombings terrorize India

first_imgNEW DELHI – It was one of the year’s busiest shopping days. People strolled through crowded markets of the Indian capital strung with colored bulbs, buying boxes of the extra-sugary sweets often given as gifts during the Hindu festival of lights. Then the pleasantly cool Saturday evening exploded in fire and terror. “There was black smoke everywhere,” said Babu Lal Khandelwal, a shopkeeper. “When the smoke was cleared and I could see, there were people bloody and people lying in the street.” All around him, the Paharganj market was a ruin of mangled shops, twisted metal and body parts after the 5:45 p.m. explosion. Within minutes, another blast ripped through the popular Sarojini Nagar shopping area, followed by a bombing on a bus in the Govindpuri neighborhood. At least 58 people were killed and dozens wounded. Pakistan condemned the multiple attacks in New Delhi. “The attack in a crowded market place is a criminal act of terrorism. The people and government of Pakistan are shocked at this barbaric act and express deep sympathy with the families of the victims,” a Foreign Ministry statement said. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called the blasts “yet another example of terrorists’ cynical and callous disregard for human life. On behalf of the British government, I would like to offer the people of India my support and deepest sympathy.” The attacks targeted the many people shopping just days before the festival of Diwali, a major Hindu holiday during which families exchange gifts, light candles and celebrate with fireworks. The markets where the blasts occurred often sell fireworks that are elaborate and potentially dangerous. “When I got up, there were people everywhere – they were bleeding and screaming,” Anil Gupta said about 45 minutes after the blast as he sifted through the wreckage of his jewelry store. Scattered around his feet were bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Home Minister Shivraj Patil urged people to stay off the streets. “I appeal to you. Please disperse from the markets and go back to your families,” he said in a televised address. Patil said 39 people were killed in Sarojini Nagar, a popular shopping district in the southern part of the capital filled with everything from knockoff designer clothing to kitchen crockery. Fire department official Sham Lal said at least 16 people died in the Paharganj market blast, and three were killed on the bus. The blast in the Paharganj market badly damaged a row of shops. About an hour later, investigators stood around a small, debris-filled crater about 10 feet from the string of shops. All around, broken glass and other wreckage littered the street, shops’ signs were ripped and twisted and clothes – mostly T-shirts and scarves – hung from low-strung power lines. Police said at least 60 people were wounded in Paharganj and dozens in the other bombings. A witness to the second blast, Satinder Lal Sharma, said some boys warned him about an unclaimed bag near a tree and he “started shouting ‘Run! Run!”‘ just before the explosion. It destroyed several shops and left the tree charred and without leaves. Govind Singh, who sells wallets and toys on a cart next to a juice shop devastated in the explosion, said at least five people from his village were killed. The explosion was “so loud that I fell down. Then a fire started,” he said. “I took out at least 20 bodies, most of them were children,” Singh said. He and others wrapped the bodies in sheets that were being sold by one of the destroyed shops. As he spoke someone asked him, “Where is Lal Chand?” “He is gone,” Singh replied, and then started crying. At Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Dr. S.K. Sharma, the emergency room chief, said his team had received four victims from the first blast who arrived dead and “charred beyond recognition.” They were treating another 30 injured from the same explosion, he said. He explained that burns were not caused by chemicals and most shrapnel injuries were from flying glass – not the screws or ball bearings sometimes packed into crude bombs. As he spoke, an ambulance pulled up and paramedics wheeled more victims into the hospital. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Police declared a state of emergency and closed all city markets. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged calm while denouncing the apparently coordinated bombings, which did not prevent an unprecedented India-Pakistan agreement to open the Kashmir border to facilitate aid for survivors of the region’s devastating Oct. 8 earthquake. “These are dastardly acts of terrorism,” Singh said in a brief televised statement. “We shall defeat their nefarious designs and will not allow them to succeed. We are resolute in our commitment to fighting terrorism in all forms.” Asked who was responsible, he would only say “there are several clues.” However, the Indian government faces opposition from dozens of militant groups – particularly Kashmiri separatists, some of whom also oppose the peace process between Pakistan and India that began early last year. The explosions also came hours after India and Pakistan began talks on opening their heavily militarized border in disputed Kashmir to bring food, shelter and medical aid to victims of the Himalayan region’s Oct. 8 earthquake, which killed about 80,000 people, most in Pakistan. Despite the blasts, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said early today that the two sides agreed to open the frontier at five spots beginning Nov. 7. Shipments of aid supplies will be allowed to cross at those points, and Kashmiri civilians will be allowed to cross on foot, with priority given to those with families divided by the border. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Weeklast_img

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