Saturday, September 13, 2008

14 September 2008

Times Of India

14 September 2008


Rahul Tripathi | TNN

6.10 pm
Ghaffar Market, Karol Bagh, 13 killed, 50 hurt | Bomb was placed in a CNG-fitted auto near the bustling MCD market. Injured included shoppers, labourers and jewellery workers

6.30 pm
Central Park, 4 killed, 10 hurt
CP’s green lung was filled with families out for an evening stroll when a bomb in a dustbin went off. Shrapnel hit many shoppers streaming out of Palika

6.31 pm
Barakhamba Road, 13 killed
Office-goers waiting for a bus home at a stand near Gopaldas Bhavan were caught unawares when a bomb, again in a dustbin, went off

6.31 pm
GK I, M Block Market, 10 injured;
Shoppers at this upscale market were jolted when the 1st bomb went off near a fast-food outlet. Shards from shattered shop windows left several injured

6:38 pm
GK I, M Block Market, 10 injured;
A bicycle bomb went off near Prince Paan Shop, a local landmark. This blast was stronger but caused fewer injuries as most shoppers had been evacuated

Could Have Been Worse
Defused - 3 bombs At Children’s Park in India Gate, Regal Cinema & Central Park, CP. Are there more?

Killer Device
Low-intensity chemical explosives (ammonium nitrate) with electronic timers used, similar to Jaipur, Ahmedabad blasts
No Uniform Pattern
3 bombs placed in dustbins, 1 on cycle, 1 in CNG-fitted auto
Key Witness
11-yr-old balloon seller near Gopal Das Towers, CP, saw 2 people dressed in black place a polythene bag in dustbin. Bomb went off 15 min later
Markets Down Shutters
Sarojini Nagar, CP, Bengali Market, Lajpat Nagar, etc., evacuated and closed
Metro Disrupted
Metro stops ops after CP blasts. Resumes soon, but strict security checks lead to long queues
Network Jammed
Increased cellphone activity creates logjam in mobile network
Helpline: 011-23490312

New Delhi: It has become nauseatingly familiar. Low-intensity bombs placed in crowded markets, killing and maiming children, their parents, unsuspecting shoppers, unmindful of caste, creed, religion. Within a month and a half of the Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts, a wave of terror ripped through Delhi on Saturday, leaving 30 dead and 90 injured, with the toll likely to rise.
    In all, five bombs went off in less than half an hour. Two of them in the heart of Delhi in Connaught Place; two in the swish Greater Kailash I, M Block market in south Delhi, and one — the most damaging — in crowded Ghaffar Market in Karol Bagh. Three more bombs were defused —
one of them at the popular Children’s Park in India Gate, indicating the extraordinary callousness of the terrorist mindset.
    The Indian Mujahideen, regarded by security agencies as a front for the Lashkar-Huji terror machine, has claimed responsibility for the blasts. This group had sent emails before the UP court blasts, the Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts. This time, too, it sent an
email to media groups — even if later than usual, more than 10 minutes after the first blast. And for the third time, it specifically threatened The Times of India for attacking terror.
    The first explosion took place at Ghaffar Market at 6.10 pm. Soon after that, two explosions rocked Connaught Place, one at Barakambha Road near Gopaldas Building at 6.30 pm and the other near the Metro station at Central Park at 6.31 pm. Almost simultaneously, an explosion was heard in M-block market in Greater Kailash-I near McDonald’s and seven minutes later, another bomb went off near Prince Pan Corner in the same market.
    All the blasts were low intensity and the defused bombs suggest a cocktail of ammonium nitrate, gun powder, ball bearings and nails was used along with timer devices. They were clearly the same kind of bombs used in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, indicating that it’s the same group that’s wreaking terror across the country.
At Karol Bagh, CNG made it more deadly Rahul Tripathi | TNN
New Delhi: After five bombs ripped through four places across the Capital, eyewitnesses said that explosives at Connaught Place were kept in a dustbin in Central Park of Connaught Place while at Gopaldas building, the bombs were kept in a dustbin next to the bus stand. An 11-year-old boy, Rohit (name changed) who had witnessed two persons wearing a black dress putting two plastic bags inside the dustbin, is being examined by the cops.
    Police say the first blast in Karol Bagh was the result of a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) cylinder explosion. The impact of the blasts in Karol Bagh could be gauged by the fact that an auto was thrown up in the air and got caught in the electrical wires. “The terrorist have used the CNG autorickshaw to maximise the impact and we have so far not been able to find the number plate of the vehicle,’’ said a police officer.
    Eyewitnesses claim that explosives were loaded on a bicycle near Prince Pan Centre in GK I and another inside
a dustbin near McDonald’s. All the blasts were of low intensity and ball bearings were used to maximize the impact, said investigators.
    In GK’s M block market, the blast took place next to a Maruti car to maximise the impact but it did not explode averting a bigger tragedy. Cops said that a low intensity blast with a timer was used to trigger the blast. The second blast which took place next to a pan shop was high
er intensity but shopkeepers and shoppers had evacuated the area by then, reducing the human loss. All the blast sites were popular shopping destinations, and all of them were teeming with people on weekend shopping.
    Three unexploded bombs were found later taking the total number of bombs to 8. The first was found near India Gate inside a dustbin at the Children’s Park and one was defused at Regal Cinema
Hall which was lying on the road, while another one was found at Central Park, again inside a dustbin. A National Security Guard (NSG) team defused the bombs after they were informed by the witnesses about unclaimed objects. NSG experts were assessing the situation and nature of explosives used.
    Joint Commissioner of Police, Special cell, Karnal Singh said, ‘‘The nature of explosives and bombs used are
similar to those used in Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Chemicals were used along with nails and ball bearings and it was set off using electronic timers.’’
    The police are scanning CCTV footage of the GK I M block market and at Karol Bagh area to zero in on suspects. Delhi Police say that the Capital was always on high alert but there was no specific threat perception. It had gone down after the ter
ror module of SIMI-Indian Mujahideen ring was allegedly busted by Ahmedabad police.
    The Delhi Police have also installed a helpline for victims and any person willing to provide information and seek assistance. People can call on 011-23490212. Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, “We have got vital clues on the blasts and are examing the same.” 

BLOODY REMINDER A shattered 8-year-old boy accompanies his injured father to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, one of the three city hospitals where the blast-hit were taken. (Right) A victim’s relative is consoled as Delhi comes together in grief

Mumbai techie chief suspect: Agencies


New Delhi: Preliminary investigation into the Delhi blasts on Saturday point to the hand of an Indian Mujahideen-SIMI cell led by Abdul Subhan, the techie jehadi from Mumbai and Qayamuddin.
    The modus operandi — emails from Indian Mujahideen warning of or coinciding with blasts, use of ammonium nitrate and ball bearings pellets and other shrapnel in explosives, use of crowded markets so that higher casualties can be achieved even by low-intensity blasts — carries the signature of IM-SIMI. Besides, the email from Indian Mujahideen, like the two previous ones, was sent from Mumbai, Subhan’s base using an unsecured wifi connection of Ms Kamran Power Private Limited in Chembur, owned by one Mr Kamat. Although the mail came from Mumbai, references to newspaper coverage in Delhi editions in the past few
weeks, suggests that the draftsman may have been in Delhi.
    The police has been able to recover the chasis number of the autorickshaw that was used for the blast in Ghaffar Market in Karol Bagh. Four people have also been detained and are being questioned. ‘‘We have some good clues,’’ said a police spokesman.
    Although Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi stated in Bangalore that he had earlier this month told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor that there were plans to strike the Capital, intelligence sources were taken aback by the Indian Mujahideen’s choice of Delhi.
    They were suspecting Subhan and Qayamuddin, computer-graphic designer from Vadodara to strike in either Maharashtra or MP.
Explosions carry IM-SIMI signature
New Delhi: Preliminary investigation into the Delhi blasts points to the hand of an Indian Mujahideen-SIMI cell led by Abdul Subhan, the techie jehadi from Mumbai and Qayamuddin. Sources in intelligence agencies said the modus operandi for the Delhi blasts carries the signature of IM-SIMI.
    The probe is going to focus on the likely contacts of Subhan, Qayamuddin, and other absconding IMSIMI activists — Abdul Bashar, Razeek, Afridi (all from Gujarat), Ikram, Inam and Musa (all from Madhya Pradesh).
    Abdul Subhan who has evaded arrest after narrowly escaping a raid by Gujarat Police in Surat on SIMI hideout, has made no secret of his anger over the Ahmedabad crackdown. In the last email that he wrote, intelligence sources suggest, for Indian Mujahideen using the nom de guerre of Al arbi, Abdul Subhan tried to mislead the investigators by calling all the arrested innocent and Kenneth Haywood, the US national whose wi-fi he is suspected to have used to send the email warning of Ahmedabad blasts, an ally.
    The return of Haywood has exposed the ploy (significantly, the email on Saturday was conspicuously silent on this). But Abdul Subhan who is regarded as an ace bomb maker also came off as someone smarting under the humiliation of the botched attack on Surat — none of the bombs planted in the diamond city went off because of faulty integrated circuits used in the timers. His last mail had shown his anxiety to prove his credentials. 

This time, the email came late


New Delhi: Indian Mujahideen, the hardline splinter group of SIMI that is suspected of engineering the serial blasts in Delhi, followed the routine of sending an email to media outlets simultaneous with the blasts, but it came with a difference. Unlike in the past, when emails from the group arrived before the bombs went off in various UP towns, Jaipur and Ahmedabad, the latest hate message vowing “Eye for An Eye” revenge sent from Mumbai reached 11 minutes after the first of the bombs had exploded in Ghaffar Market in Karol Bagh.
    The Ghaffar Market explosion happened at 6.10 pm but the email arrived at 6.26.
    Also, while the IM spoke of nine blasts, till the time of going to press, the national capital had suffered five. It was a mismatch that pointed to the possibility of some of the bombs planted by the gang failing to go off, or a lastminute change of plan that the plotters had not factored in while writing their deadly emailed warning.
    Preliminary investigation suggests the email was sent from Mumbai and intelligence sources are fairly certain it bears the imprint of Abdul Subhan Usman Qureshi, the techie jehadi from Mumbai who continues to elude intel
ligence personnel and cops from different states. It warns Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his deputy R R Patil they will face the consequences, a pointer to Qureshi’s deeply-entrenched Mumbai connection.
    Captioned “Eye for An Eye, The Dust Will Never Settle Down”, the 13-page email makes it clear that Delhi was chosen to make a statement of capability. It was meant to show the group could strike at prized targets just after the crackdown on the IM/SIMI activists in connection with the previous blasts. “To dreadfully terrorise you this time, by the Will and Help of Almighty Allah, we are about to devastate your very first metropolitan centre, your most strategic ‘Hindutva hub, your green zone — yes! It’s your own capital”.
    The latest email from Abdul Subhan, who uses the alias ‘al-Arbi’, has the theme of revenge running through it. It reads much like previous ones with references to scripture to justify the attack on non-believers, warnings of more attacks against those behind “injustice and oppression” inflicted upon Muslims all over the country and the boast that the group has the capacity to strike anywhere. It also repeats warnings to the cops, media and judiciary.
E-mail warns cops, security agencies
New Delhi: There was also the familiar stress on the indigenous character of IM, ironically with the help of the term ‘homegrown’ which has so far been associated with officials and security agencies.
    Like on previous occasions, the email warns cops and agencies engaged in anti-terror operation and particularly those behind the crackdown on IM/SIMI — in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, AP as well as the Intelligence Bureau. The sender, as in his previous mail, calls those arrested for Ahmedabad, Surat and Jaipur blasts — from Mufti Bashar to Shahbaz Hussain who importantly has been identified by the owner of a cyber cafe as the one who sent the mail warning of the blasts in the capital of Rajasthan: a suspected ploy to mislead the investigators.
    Also, there is no let up in the effort to intimidate the cops, media and judiciary by warning them of retaliation. If anything, the warnings have become more ominous.
    There is no regret either for the previous atrocities, with the IM even threatening to repeat the barbarity it committed by attacking hospitals in Ahmedabad. Yet, it is different in some crucial ways. To begin with, in comparison to the emails that preceded the blasts in courts in towns of UP, Jaipur and Ahmedabad, the latest one is thin on references to scriptures — a factor which could be attributed to the imprisonment of Mufti Bashar, the Azamgarh cleric who provided the religious input for the drafts sent by Subhan till he was arrested for Ahemdabad blasts.
    But what is more significant is that it is decidedly more political marked by a determined effort to court the ‘liberal/secular’ opinion by accusing cops,media and judiciary of double standards in their approach to terrorism: the argument being that the activists of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are not treated as terrorists even after they are caught making bombs in Kanpur, Nanded and in Tamil Nadu.
    The IM disdains the Bajrang Dal activists who were killed while making bombs as ‘apes’, but the desire to achieve parity with
the Hindu right is significant, coming as it does in the wake of suggestion from politicians that Hindutva outfits are as worthy of a ban as SIMI.
    “The word terrorism is never used when a story on Sangh violence is told, no matter how large scale the violence is. The violence unleashed by the Sangh Parivar in Gujarat was defined only as expression of communalism and the same is case with what happens in Orissa at moment”, complained the IM. The political content is conspicuous also by an effort to appear as custodian of Muslim interests by taking cudgels for issues — from Babri demolition to Amarnath protests — issues which have a resonance among mainstream Muslims too. But more crucially by making a common cause with other victims of ‘Sangh terror’ — Christians and Dalits. The idea of a broad coalition of all minorities and Dalits in a broad anti-Hindutva coalition is not new, but its use amid clear signs of unease within Muslims about the radicalisation of sections within it is immensely interesting.
    The calculation to isolate BJP and other Hindutva outfits — RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal — comes off clearly with the Indian Mujahideen declaring, “Let us make it clear to all the enemies of Muslims, especially the Hindus of India, that the BJP backed RSS, VHP Bajrang Dal, and the entire Sangh Parivar would be the only responsible factors for whatever horrifying tragedies you are to face in the nearest future. The cause will be these wicked bastards and the effect will be on the entire nation”. 



From Central Park of CP, the bustling heart of the city, to GK-I’s M Block market, terror struck within minutes on Saturday evening, sending the city into panic mode


    One minute, two bomb blasts and the heart of the city stood still. A busy Saturday evening at Central Park in Connaught Place and in front of Gopaldas Bhavan on Barakhamba Road came to an abrupt halt as the blasts tore through the area, leaving 10 innocent people dead and more than 20 injured.
    Connaught Place was bustling with activity and Central Park, a favourite of Delhiites over weekends, was teeming with visitors. Everything changed within seconds as the first blast went off at around 6.30 pm at Central Park. The bomb planted in a dustbin blew up with such force that splinters and parts of the it flew across the park into Palika Bazar. Two people died in the impact and many others were injured. All those hurt happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. A woman standing near a blood donation camp in progress at A Block was hit on the forehead and had to be rushed to hospital for treatment.
    As bystanders, shoppers and shopkeepers manning stores in the Inner Circle and those in Palika Bazaar rushed to help victims, another loud blast could be heard from Barakhamba Road. A bomb, similarly planted in a dustbin, went off in front of Nirmal Towers, near Gopaldas Bhavan. Here the hapless victims were people who were waiting to catch a bus. The toll. Eight dead and many injured.
    What followed the twin blasts were scenes of chaos and confusion as people ran for safety, while others rushed in to help, and shopkeepers downed shutters. All offices in the area closed immediately. Central Park was sealed by the police and victims were rushed to nearby hospitals. At Barakhamba Road, the scene resembled a battleground with blood splattered around, and splinters, slippers and other belongings of victims strewn all over the place. As the area was cordoned off by the police, eyewitnesses said the number of casualties in Barakhamba Road could have been higher had not a group of waiting people boarded a Blueline bus barely seconds before the blast went off. 

The bomb at GK-I market damaged the other cars in the parking lot

The dustbin which blew up on Barakhamba Road, soon after Central Park blast

The scene outside the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Saturday

The weeping parents of a victim wait for some news outside RML Hospital

The NSG’s bomb disposal squad outside Regal, defusing a bomb

The Barakhamba Road blast site was cordoned off by the cops even as passersby, despite the panic, stopped to watch the scene

Grass turned red, victims shrieked, chaos reigned


New Delhi: The Central Park was bustling with energy of the weekend crowd that had gathered to enjoy its sprawling greens. But soon the shades of green took a red hue. A deadly explosion had rocked the park and patches of blood could be seen everywhere.
    For those who survived the blast, it was a scene of horror and shock. Sunny Singh, one of the employees at a shop in the underground Palika Bazar, ran out after hearing a deafening sound only to witness smoke billowing out and victims bleeding and shrieking in pain in the park. ‘‘Soon, I ran to rescue the victims,’’ he said.
    Another eyewitness, Ashat Khan, had just finished offer
ing his namaaz in a mosque in A-block when the blast occurred. ‘‘The impact could be felt hundreds of metres away. Within moments I rushed to Central Park only to find at least 30 people lying injured, some of them with very serious injuries,’’ Khan said.
    Within seconds, the happy sight of the park had turned into a scene of panic and chaos. As CP shut down shutters within minutes and Palika Bazaar was evacuated, people were seen running helter and skelter. Subhashni Chatterjee, who was rushing out like others, told Times City that death had just brushed past her. ‘‘I was at the Central Park when the blast happened. I had crossed the dustbin where the explosion took place, minutes before the blast. Just when I reached the Regal building I heard the loud noise,’’ she said with fear lurking in her eyes.
    Metres away and minutes later, a similar explosion on Barakhamba Road near Gopal Das tower had people scurrying for their lives. Like on any other day Sehruddin had crossed over to the juice shop near the tower to break his Roza. But in a matter of minutes he saw bodies flying in the air from the impact of the bomb that had exploded in a dustbin kept there.
    Sehruddin was one of the many eyewitnesses at the bus stop where people in large number were waiting to catch buses to return to their homes in the evening. 

A sadhu’s bowl at Barakhamba

At GK-I, traders herded people into park to safety


New Delhi: For senior citizens Anjana and Arun Mathur, who had come shopping to GK-1 from Dwarka, Saturday’s horrific experience will be etched in their memories for ever. Nearly half an hour after the blasts, the couple stood in the parking lot, visible shaken at the events that had just unfolded before them.
    ‘‘After the blast, there was panic all over the market as people were screaming as they ran helter-skelter. And then, the second explosion took place. With this, we all froze in our spots, waiting to see who would be the victims of a third. After a few minutes, people started walking out again. We just want to get home safely now. Our car is blocked in the parking lot as someone else has abandoned theirs on the main road,’’ said Arun Mathur.
    Added Anil Kumar of Bags and More, who was sit
ting in his shop: ‘‘I rushed out of my shop and there were announcements being made from the police booth asking all the people to rush into the park. I tried to help out too, and evacuated the shop. There was a stampede on the pavements as everyone was trying to rush out of the market.’’
    Right after the first blast, eyewitnesses said that the
market association had started making announcements from the police booth, asking people to stay calm and move towards the park in the middle of the market. ‘‘As people collected in the park, many people were saved from injuries which could have been caused if they were near Prince Pan corner,’’ said Neeshikanth Sharma, a shopkeeper.
Several others whose cars had got damaged in the blasts, stood helplessly. “I can’t drive the car now as the windscreen is totally shattered and will fall if the car moves. I had come here from Faridabad, but parked the car here and fortunately went out with my family to eat something. After the blasts, I rushed to check on the car, but the police did not allow us to come inside for over an hour,’’ said Goldie, whose Toyota Corolla car got damaged. 

Looking for clues

Auto wrecked, went up in air


New Delhi: It was 6.10 pm on Saturday evening at the busy Ghaffar market in Karol Bagh. Seconds later, the hustle-bustle of business was interrupted by a bomb blast — the first of the five serial blasts in the city — which claimed at least eight lives and left 40 others seriously injured. The low intensity bomb was allegedly planted in a CNG auto rickshaw that went off near the MCD market adjacent to Beadonpura. Remnants of the vehicle were later found hanging from the overhead electricity wire.
    Eyewitnesses said that even before they realised what had happened, the area was covered in thick smoke and the dead and the injured lay all over the narrow lanes even as others blindly ran wherever they could looking for safety. All glass within a 250 m radius of the epicentre was blown to smithereens.
    Nandkishore, a hawker said that he was standing with his back to the auto when he heard a very loud noise. ‘‘The driver was standing outside the auto. Suddenly, there was a huge blast and the entire area was filled with smoke. I fell unconscious.’’ He has received
grave injuries in his right hand.
    Locals said initially they thought it was a cylinder explosion, but a few minutes later they realised it was a terror attack. Though separate theories
are doing the rounds about the sequence of events, some of the eyewitnesses said that there were two passengers inside the auto including a woman in a burkha.
    As soon as the auto stopped, the blast happened. They said that the auto driver and both passengers died on the spot. The blast was so severe that the auto in which the bomb was placed resembled a skeleton structure and a Maruti Zen parked nearby was gutted. Shops too bore the brunt of the explosion. Locals rushed the injured to Jessa Ram Hospital, Sir Gangaram Hospital and Lady Hardinge hospital. Most of them have injuries in their head, hand and legs. Majority of the victims are hawkers.
    ‘‘This road is our source of earning our livelihood. But today it claimed the lives of so many like us. I am clueless about the fate of so many of my family,’’ said a distraught Some Devi who was looking for her daughter, son and grandson.
    Blaming police for their late arrival to rush the victims to hospitals, Chandrawati, a woman in her late 50s said that her son Billu lay in a pool of blood at the blast spot. ‘‘I was shouting for help. He lay there for half an hour, but none came to our help. He had gone out a few minutes before the blast to buy items for his small shop,’’ she said, adding that she was still looking for her husband and daughter-in-law. 

The damage at Ghaffar Khan Market after the blast

Within eight minutes, two blasts sent shoppers scurrying for cover

Megha Suri & Ruhi Bhasin | TNN

New Delhi: As twin-blasts rocked the M-block market in south Delhi’s upmarket Greater Kailash-I on Saturday evening, panic gripped the area. The bombs exploded within a span of eight minutes and 10 persons were reported injured. The police, however, confirmed that the injured are all out of danger.
    The first bomb, which was planted in a dustbin mounted on the wall of the park opposite M-9, went off around 6.31
pm. Just as shoppers heard the loud bang and were trying to ascertain what it was, there was another loud noise. This time, huge glass window panes of two stores — a salon on the first floor and an apparel store on the floor above — located opposite the blast site crashed onto the main road.
    ‘‘I was standing near the park having tea when the first bomb went off. There was sudden commotion. People were running all over the place, screaming, and all I could see were shattered windscreens of
cars parked around. I started running in the opposite direction and a big glass came crashing on the road,’’ said Avinash Mishra, who works in a leading apparel store located right opposite the site. He added that he usually stands right next to the bin. But on Saturday, he chose to stand a few metres apart, and this is how his life was saved.
    Added Aprajita Bajaj, a shopper: ‘‘I was shopping for shirts when there was one blastlike sound. As we had heard about the blasts at other loca
tions, I immediately ran out of the shop to check, but was ushered into the park. Then, the second bomb went off.’’
    Seven minutes later, the second explosion took place opposite Prince Paan Corner (shop M-29). According to the police, the second bomb was planted on a bicycle and was reportedly of higher intensity. ‘‘As people had already collected in the park, the casualties were few. Had the area been as crowded as it usually is, as there is a popular chat shop there too, the nature of injuries
could have been more severe. The cycle belonged to a shopkeeper,’’ said a police official.
    One of the victims, Manoj, a squatter who sells clocks on the pavement outside the paan shop said: ‘‘I was packing up my goods after I heard of the first blast, but before I could move out, another bomb exploded next to me. I injured my hand with glass splinters. It seemed like a movie scene where all I could hear was people shouting ‘blast ho gaya hai, bhago.’’
    Soon after the first explo
sion, around four cars were abandoned in the middle of the road as the drivers ran to their safety. ‘‘I was headed out of the market when a window pane fell in front of my car. The splinters were all over us, so we just left the car and ran out of the market,’’ said Mithun, who was driving a Maruti Zen. The explosions left several cars damaged as windscreens and window panes were broken.
    Within minutes, the police rushed into the scene and the market was evacuated by 7 pm. 

The cycle on which one of the bombs was planted

Politicians rush in to help with blood

Volunteers Lend A Hand, Take Credit

Smriti Singh | TNN

New Delhi: Volunteers from political parties came rushing in at hospitals to lend a helping hand on Saturday, and it was clear that they also wanted credit for it.
    Ten members of Bahujan Samaj Party were the first to turn up at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to donate blood for the victims and help the families to locate their missing members. Soon, volunteers from the Youth Congress, sporting T-shirts with the picture of Rahul Gandhi, arrived on the scene to help the hospital staff shift the victims to the emergency ward.
    ‘‘So far we have donated around 40 units of blood and some more volunteers from our party are on their way,’’ said one of the BSP volunteers, Suresh. ‘‘The hospital let us go inside the emergency ward and from there we have got the names and numbers of all the victims. Now we are tracking the families of the victims and are
informing them.’’
    However, the intervention of the political parties soon took an ugly turn when one of the blast victims died in the ambulance when it failed to reach the trauma center of the hospital due to the crowd blocking the main entrance to welcome a local leader.
    The leaders, of course, lost no time
in joining their followers and making their presence felt. The first one to arrive was MP and senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. Speaking to reporters, Kumar said, ‘‘We will do whatever is possible for us to help the blast victims.’’
    CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury was next. Describing the situation inside the emergency room as ‘‘heart-wrenching’’, Yechury urged the people to maintain calm. Minister of state for home affairs Shri Prakash Jaiswal, police commissioner Y S Dadwal, lieutenant-governor Tejendra Khanna and Mayor Arti Mehra also visited the victims.
    Making the blasts a political issue, BJP lost no time in blaming the Congress for the situation. Issuing a statement, former union minister and BJP general secretary Vijay Goel said, ‘‘the Congress government’s soft approach towards terrorism is responsible for
the blasts in the capital.’’
    In a cabinet meeting convened late on Saturday night, Delhi governmentannounced a compensation package of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those who were killed in the blast and Rs 50,000 for the injured. The cabinet also decided that treatment in both
government and private hospitals will be free of cost.

HELPING HAND: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit at RML Hospital

From bustling market to ghost town in minutes


New Delhi: Lado Sarai resident Nelson was sitting in his second-floor office when he heard the blast in Gaffar Market. “I went out and could only see panic-stricken people running about. Then I spotted a small child lying unconscious next to a dustbin. She had burn injuries all over and a severe head injury. I carried her to Jessa Ram Hospital and she was admitted in the ICU.” The two-year-old girl, however, died within minutes on the table, reported doctors from the hospital.
    The normally peaceful market resembled a ghost town within minutes of the explosion. Initial reports suggested a cylinder blast but when it was confirmed that it was a bomb blast,

shopkeepers pulled their shutters down and panicked residents rushed indoors.
    Local resident Roshan Lal recalled the sight of bodies missing arms and legs as residents rushed the injured to Jessa Ram and Gangaram Hospital. “When the blast happened, people were still calm thinking it was maybe a cylinder blast as was the initial idea. Then news of similar blasts in other parts of Delhi came in and everyone panicked. It was a very busy day in the market when the blast happened,” said Murli Mani, president of Karol Bagh traders association.
    When terror struck, everyone rushed to help. Sanjay Kumar, who drives a van for a public school, was the first to rush injured to the
hospital in his van. Blood stains could still be seen on the seats inside the van and the door outside. “There wasn’t any time to think and we had to get medical help to the injured as soon as possible. I accommodated as many people as possible and rushed them to Jessa Ram,” he said.
    For eyewitnesses Ashok Gurnani and Kamal Lal Wani, the blast came at a time when Gaffar Market was at its busiest. ‘‘Those cowards who chose to bomb our peaceful neighbourhood chose the worst possible time. It was a Saturday, and the market was teeming with shoppers,’’ said Wani, whose brother-in-law, Ashok Gurnani is undergoing treatment at the Gangaram Hospital.
    Gurmani, who received multiple facial injuries from

splinters, said he was standing in front of his shop near lane 41 in Bidanpura, close to the blast spot. ‘‘I had noticed an auto parked nearby and decided to call the owner as I was wanted to ensure that shoppers could park their vehicles without any hazard. Around 6.10 pm, there was a huge blast and the auto was thrown in the air. I do not remember much after that,” said Gurmani.
    Wani, a resident of Rajender Nagar and owner of a handloom unit in the market said that the sound was deafening. ‘‘The whole area shook and the entire space was filled with smoke. By the time I could open my eyes, the dead bodies were strewn all over,’’ he said. 

SHATTERED: Mangled remains of an auto at Karol Bagh

Panic as cell network collapses

Most cellphone networks in the city were jammed for almost an hour after the first blast at Ghaffar Market at 6.10 pm. Markets also closed down early as traders preferred to retreat to safety of their homes


    Terror gripped the city on Saturday night as news of the serial blasts spread like wildfire. The first casualty were the cellular networks which went missing minutes after the incident took place. ‘‘I've been trying to call my fiance for over an hour but just can't get through,'' said a frantic Lisa Manuel, who had come shopping to Connaught Place's inner circle.
    In fact, till almost an hour after the first blast took place at 6.10 pm in Ghaffar Market, all cellular networks were jammed as family and friends tried reaching their dear ones on the phone. Said Ashish Banerjee, an outstation student at JNU, ‘‘With the cellphone service going off, I spent a lot of time just trying to make an STD call back home in Kolkata.''
    Markets too felt the heat as panic-stricken shoppers preferred leaving for the safety of their homes. Said Amit Tandon, out doing lastminute shopping for his marriage in Karol Bagh market, ‘‘I got to
know about the blasts from the shopkeepers who were downing their shutters. When I enquired, even the police advised us to return home.''
    The sops in Lajpat Nagar's Central Market, Greater Kailash I and II, Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazaar, Rajouri Garden and elsewhere started closing down as news of the blasts spread through the city. Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the city traders association, said ‘‘there was a lot of panic as TV channels were saying more blasts were expected. Since the markets are soft targets, we are hoping that tomorrow there will be more security.''
    Malls too saw shutters come down as shoppers left. ‘‘I was scared. The terrorists had chosen prime spots in each of the other districts. Naturally, I felt malls would be targeted in Rajouri Garden,'' said Rajesh Jaiswal, a resident of Pitampura area who had gone shopping in a mall. Across town in Saket, Ritu Suri seemed more secure. ‘‘I've already bought tickets to a night show, so I will stay back if there's no news of more
blasts,'' she said. Many shops in the malls, however, started closing down voluntarily as security concerns made many leave.
    Dhaula Kuan witnessed jams after the blasts as officer-goers from the capital and Gurgaon kept crisscrossing each other to reach their homes. ‘‘Since the mobile network is down, we will have to rush to the house since my wife would be anxious,'' added Jaiswal.
    However, even as the rush increased on the roads, buses were mostly seen going empty. Said Rupam, waiting to catch an auto in South Extension, ‘‘Nobody seems to want to go by bus, and there's a huge rush for autos.'' As usual though, autos could be seen overcharging as people waited to return home.
    Traffic was diverted from CP circle and KG Marg. To avoid jams, commuters took the Ferozshah Road and Ashoka Road to go towards south Delhi and India Gate. The traffic at the RML intersection was diverted to the other side to make way for the blasts victims coming from CP and Gaffar Khan Market area. 

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER: Police commissioner YS Dadwal briefing mediapersons

Metro pulls it off with slight delay

DMRC trains ran as per schedule, services halted only for 4 mins to check for any damage to system due to blasts at CP. Security intensified at stations


New Delhi: Even as security was beefed up on Delhi Metro soon after serial blasts rocked the Capital on Saturday evening, trains were running as per schedule.
    The system gained importance at Rajeev Chowk as it was the only mode for commuting available for people after the twin blasts. Less than 100 metres away from the glare of the media and the commotion at the site of the bomb blast at Central Park, Meena stood with her husband Pankaj and four-year-old daughter Swati in the long queue to board the Metro from the A-Block Metro station. The blasts meant standing in a long and slow moving queue as security checks were mounted.
    For Meena, Saturday's trip to CP will be etched in her memory forever. As she waited in the metro queue, a worried Meena told Times City that she was taking a stroll with her child in Central Park just minutes before the blast.
    ‘‘I had come with my husband to CP as it was a weekend. My husband had an exam to take at a computer institute in CP. But that too got cancelled. Now we want to reach our home in Rohini as fast as possible.''
    Others in the queue shared their anxiety and wished to reach home as early as possible, visibly shaken from the blasts.
    Meanwhile, Delhi Metro services were stopped for four minutes after the blast at Central Park to check for any damage to the system. ‘‘Train services were stopped from 6.45 pm to 6.49 pm during which time the system was thoroughly checked for any impact since the blasts took place right above the Rajeev Chowk station. The train services were
resumed after that and security was intensified at all Metro stations,'' said Anuj Dayal, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
    Every person entering the Metro station was thoroughly frisked and all bags were checked and scanned at various stations. The security control rooms were alerted and security personnel were asked to monitor all the footings from CCTV cameras in the metro premises carefully.
    One of the entries to Rajeev Chowk station — at F-blocked — was closed for security reasons. But the frequency of trains was maintained to ensure that people could use it to travel out of Connaught Place.
    The Northern Railways also stepped up their security arrangements at all railway stations across the Capital and additional security personnel were deployed. However, the blasts did not affect the train schedules in general. 


Such blasts are aimed more at creating panic and anxiety rather than just kill people. We need to maintain peace and go on with our business. The various security agencies need to sit up and stop playing the blame game. We need strong leaders who can stand up against the terror

Not just Delhi, but the whole country should join hands to fight back. Every citizen should be a policeman to ensure safety which is the fundamental right of every human being DR ASHOK SETH | CHAIRMAN, ESCORTS HEART INSTITUTE AND RESEARCH CENTRE

I strongly condemn this dastardly act and urge the people of Delhi to keep calm and maintain peace. There is no reason to panic

Delhi will fight back as it always does. It is high time that we question the government and the system and punish the people who are involved in such a cowardly act

It's very difficult to express my disgust. Human life is so cheap. It's easy for the government to condemn the blasts as an act of cowardice — they have Z class security. Of course life will go on, it always does. But what's the point of living in constant fear? Talent freezes under fear, there's no point in writing songs about bravery. Right now, I'm really praying

We should not panic in such situations since it serves the purpose of those who are behind these blasts

It is undoubtedly a tragic incident but it surely brings out the fighter spirit Delhiites have. The situation is an oxymoron, where on one hand the perpetrators of such heinous acts try their best to create a panic, on the other hand people break all barriers and inhibitions to help those in need

The blasts are very disturbing. But whenever such horrifying incidents occur, Delhiites are always resilient. Such events raise questions about the security system and the effectiveness of intelligence agencies. Government should take all possible measures to ensure safety of every citizen

Imtiaz’s shooting in

VISHWAS GAUTAM Times News Network

    We bumped into Imtiaz Ali at a pub in the capital yesterday. Quite a Jab We Met moment it turned out to be. For, we got talking, and Imtiaz told us that he’s in Delhi to finalise the shooting plans for his next film.
    So what is his next? “It’s a contemporary man-woman relationship story that begins in London, moves to Delhi and San Francisco. There’s also a small phase in Kolkata,” he told us. So, he’s going to shoot in Delhi? “In fact, it’s already on,” he told us. “Saif (Ali Khan) got in yesterday, and Deepika (Padukone) will be in town for the shoot next week,” he revealed. So, how
long will they be in the city? “Oh, they’ll be in and out for quite a while, till the end of October, I guess,” said Imtiaz, adding he has no qualms shooting in the city, unlike other directors.
    “I am still a Delhi boy at heart,” he smiles. So, how does it feel to be back in
the city? “Very nice! I haven’t spoken to any of my friends yet, but I’m sure we’ll meet up in the next few days. Delhi has always been very good to me. Sometimes I feel that Delhi’s been better to me than I have been to Delhi,” he says. “Maybe I’ll redress the balance in this film,” he adds. 


NOW, SAIF IS SINGH: This is Saif’s look in Imtiaz’s (inset) next

Dutt’s the way to Bhatinda : Kumar

Boxing brand ambassador, Sanjay Dutt promised to bring us gold in the 2012 Olympics, gave the gathered crowd some star moments to remember and left the venue in a jiffy

PIYALI DASGUPTA Times News Network

    It was a bindaas Sanjay Dutt, sporting a huge ‘Samba Rules’ tattoo, that one saw at the closing ceremony of the National Boxing Championships at Bhatinda. Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar, Olympicsreturned boxers all, were there too. Sanju came, waved to the crowd, and shouted, “ Bole toh...”, to which the crowd screamed back, “Munna Bhai”.
Sanju, who is the brand ambassador of the Indian Boxing Federation, had this to say, “Sukhbir ji (Sukhbir
Singh Badal, MP) mere bhai jaise hain, saath school mein boxing practice karte the hum dono. Aur bhaisaab ne mujhe
brand ambassador
banakar badi zimmedaari de di hai. I feel proud to be associated with boxing. Aur next Olympics mein hum zaroor gold medal jeetkar ayenge.” Post this, when we
asked him if he’d ever do a boxer’s role in a film, Sanju said, “I’d love to,” and added, “I will definitely like to attend the next Olympic Games in London.” His wife, Manyata, wasn’t there with him. “As you can see, it’s only me here,” said Sanju, refusing to answer any questions on Manyata after that.
    But he sure seemed to be missing her, for all through the event, he kept checking his mobile and his watch alternately, and some 45 minutes later, he left. Later, RK Sharma, manager, Hotel Sepal, told us, “Sanju was my schoolmate in Sanawar and I was very excited to know that he was coming to Bhatinda. In fact, we had booked a room for him at the hotel. But at the last moment he had to change his plan as he was flying back to Delhi and then to Malaysia for a film shoot.”
    Towards the end of the function, when we came across Olympic bronze medalist, Vijender Singh and IBF president, Ajay Chautala. Vijender was quite excited. “Sanju Baba met me and congratulated me. ‘Keep it up’, he said. Mujhe bahut acha laga ke woh hamare liye Bhatinda tak aaye.” 

MUNNA BHAI’S MOODS: Sanjay Dutt in Bhatinda. For more pics of Anil, visit http://photogallery.


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