Delhi Blasts Courtesy:-NDTV Correspondent
Saturday, October 29, 2005 (New Delhi):
A series of explosions rocked Delhi on Saturday evening, killing at least 65 people and leaving scores injured, some of them critically.
As many as 20 people have been killed in an explosion in Sarojini Nagar market and 15 others have reportedly been killed in Paharganj.
Most of those injured or killed in the explosions were ordinary people out shopping in the festival season.
At least ten people have been detained following the three blasts in Delhi.
Five of them were picked up from the New Delhi Railway station and others from other railway stations and bus terminals.
It is now believed that high explosive devices suspected to be RDX were used in carrying out the blasts. Police have raided several hotels in Paharganj and other places in and around the Capital.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cut short his visit to the Northeast and returned to Delhi from Kolkata. He described the serial blasts as "dastardly acts of terrorism".
"The terrorists wish to spread a sense of fear and suspicion among peace-loving people. These blasts have been timed to create disaffection during the festive season when people of all communities are celebrating our national festivals.
"We shall defeat their nefarious designs and will not allow them to succeed. We are resolute in our commitment to fight terror in all forms," the Prime Minister said.
Red alert sounded
A red alert has been sounded across several places in the country including neighbouring Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil called a high-level emergency meeting at 9 pm (IST) to review the situation and discuss security operations.
The Home Minister said it was too early to pinpoint who was responsible for the blasts.
"As to who is responsible for the blasts, we will not like to jump to any conclusion. The first priority is to give relief and succour to those affected by the blasts," the Home Minister said.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi visited the injured in hospitals. Extending her condolences to the families of those killed in the blasts, she described the incidents as acts of terrorism.
"Terrorism is a menace that we all have to face and fight together. This is not only a phenomenon here in our country. This is something that the whole world has to face. It is important that we all together fight it together," said Gandhi.
Series of blastsRelated Links
Chronology of blasts in Delhi
Delhi Blasts: In pictures
People have been urged to remain calm and move away from crowded markets. Police have ordered all markets in the city to shut down.
The first blast took place in the main bazaar of Paharganj outside the New Delhi Railway Station at 5:38 pm (IST).
The explosion ripped apart the medical shop outside which the explosive device was planted in a two-wheeler.
Scores of people have been injured in the explosion, eyewitnesses said.
"I was talking to a client when the blast took place. The blast took place about 20 metres away. Right after the blast, people were running here and there," said Sajjan Singh, shopkeeper, Paharganj.
"My son was right behind me, he was injured in the head and in the smoke I couldn't see where he fell," said Joseph George, another shopkeeper.
The police later barricaded the area and a shop-to-shop search was carried out for any more explosives.
Around half an hour later, at 6:05 pm (IST), the second explosion took place in the busy Sarojini Nagar market in south Delhi.
Diwali and Eid shoppers were making their last minute shopping when the bomb went off.
"There was a huge explosion as if LPG cylinders had gone off, it wasn't clear what happened. The market was very crowded," said an eyewitness.
Almost instantly, a fire broke out and spread quickly. Within minutes, the fire trucks reached the market and it took 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
"The market was completely crowded, there was no place to move. I was standing outside my shop when the blast took place. Ten people died immediately," said a shopkeeper.
Blast in Govindpuri
Another explosion was reported from Govindpuri in south Delhi. The explosion took place inside a bus, and four people have been critically injured.
There were at least 35-40 people travelling on a bus through Govindpuri when the conductor spotted a suspicious looking plastic bag on the bus that did not belong to any of the passengers.
He immediately asked all the passengers to get out of the bus.
"If it wasn't for the conductor and the driver, all the passengers would've died, I want to know what happened to them, I am grateful to them," said Afzal, an injured passenger.
There were just five people on board when the blast rattled the bus. But quick thinking and equally fast reaction of both the driver and the conductor saved the day for the passengers.
Both the driver and the conductor suffered injuries. The driver is in a critical condition.