News

    India's Holy City Hums with Life as Kashmiri Group Claims Responsibility for Blasts

    Multimedia

    Audio

    In India, the holy Hindu city of Varanasi has bounced back to normal two days after it was hit by deadly bomb blasts. An unknown Muslim militant group in Kashmir has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed 20 people and wounded dozens.

    Shops reopened, streets bustled with traffic and devotees flocked to temples in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday. Hundreds of tourists and Hindu pilgrims returned for a holy dip in the famed bathing areas on the banks of the Ganges River, which flows along the city.

    Security has been tight in the wake of the bomb blasts that targeted an ancient temple and the city's rail station on Tuesday - but fears that sectarian violence could convulse the Hindu holy town are subsiding. A previously unknown Islamist group, the Lashkar-e-Kahar or "Army of Terror" called a news agency in Kashmir claiming responsibility for the blasts.

    A spokesman threatened to carry out more such attacks if "India does not stop excesses against Kashmiri Muslims."

    Security analyst, Bharat Karnad at New Delhi's Center for Policy Research says the group is probably a front for a more prominent Islamic group fighting to end Indian rule over part of the Kashmir region.

    "Lashkar-e-Kahar is obviously a cover, Lashkar-e-Taiba being the real culprit," he said.

    Police officials say it is too early to say who was responsible for the blasts, but the Lashkar-e-Taiba group is on the list of suspects.

    They released sketches of two suspected bombers, and said that according to witnesses they looked and spoke like Kashmiris. Two of the bombs that exploded within minutes of each other had been placed inside pressure cookers.

    Police had managed to defuse two other bombs before they could explode.

    Varanasi was rocked by explosions four months after coordinated blasts killed dozens of people in the Indian capital New Delhi, just before the main Hindu festival of Diwali.

    Karnad says Islamic militant groups are mounting such attacks to create a divide between the majority Hindus and Muslims, who make up 12 percent of the country's population.

    "These blasts are not merely to bloody a few people or kill a few people here and there," he said. "The idea is they are banking on some kind of Hindu backlash or majoritarian backlash so that in turn would radicalize the common Muslim population, and that I think is the larger aim"

    Varanasi, is one of the world's oldest cities and a prominent center of Hinduism.

    It is usually packed with Hindu pilgrims and foreign tourists.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora