Authorities scoured a western Indian city yesterday for those responsible for a series of bombings that killed at least 45 people, rounding up 30 people as a little-known group claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the second series of coordinated blasts in India in two days.
“In the name of Allah, the Indian Mujahidin strike again! Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of death!” said an e-mail from the group sent to several Indian television stations minutes before the blasts began.
The e-mail’s subject line said: “Await 5 minutes for the revenge of Gujarat,” an apparent reference to 2002 riots in the western state that left 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
The historic city of Ahmadabad is the capital of Gujarat and was the scene of much of the 2002 violence.
State government spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas said 45 people were killed and 161 wounded when at least 16 bombs went off on Saturday evening in several crowded neighborhoods. The attack came a day after seven smaller blasts killed two people in the southern technology hub of Bangalore.
Another unexploded bomb was found and defused early yesterday, the city’s police commissioner, O.P. Mathur, said. He said police had detained 30 people in their investigation.
Cities around the country were put on alert and security was stepped up at markets, hospitals, airports and train stations.
The e-mail was sent by a group calling itself Indian Mujahidin which was unknown before May, when it said it was behind a series of bombings in Jaipur that killed 61 people.
Saturday’s e-mail, sent from a Yahoo account and written in English, was made available by CNN-IBN, one of the TV stations that received the warning.
In its e-mail, the group did not mention the bombings in Bangalore and it was not clear if the attacks were connected.
The bombs on Saturday went off in two separate spates. The first, near a busy market, left some of the dead sprawled beside stands piled high with fruit, next to twisted bicycles. The second group went off near a hospital.
Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat State, called the blasts “a crime against humanity.”
He said the bombings appeared to have been masterminded by a group or groups who “are using a similar modus operandi all over the country.”
“Anti-national elements have been trying to create panic among the people of our country. Today’s blasts in Ahmadabad seem to be part of the same strategy,” federal Home Minister Shivraj Patil said.
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