Police Collect Clues in Delhi Serial Bombings

Police in Indian's capital on Sunday said they have detained several people and collected what they call "vital clues" after five bomb blasts in New Delhi. The Saturday evening explosions at three popular commercial districts killed 21 people and left nearly 100 injured. Four more bombs were defused, matching the total number claimed in a terror warning e-mail message sent to media just minutes after the first blast. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman has the latest from New Delhi.

As police commandos conducted raids in the wake of the latest serial bomb blasts to hit Indian cities, government officials held an emergency meeting to assess national security.

The government reacted similarly after other attacks that occurred in the last 10 months in four states. Despite increased vigilance, the terrorist attacks have continued.

Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta says Sunday's meeting  included the Home Minister, the National Security Advisor, the Intelligence Bureau director and Delhi's police commissioner.

"These kind of incidents have been happening in various cities so in each incident you learn. You gain learning experience," said Gupta. "We have been examining what kind of other measures are required. They have also been discussed today. We will be working on those measures also."

Gupta warned the media and sectarian groups not to create unnecessary apprehension or stir up "any kind of panic." That is a reference to fear that outrage over the attacks could prompt India's majority Hindu community to take revenge against minority Muslims, which has occurred following similar incidents over the years.

The capital was calm on Sunday with many shops next to the sites of the bomb blasts reopening.

A previously unknown group, "Indian Mujahideen," has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks, sending detailed e-mails to media immediately before or during each series of explosions.

In their latest communiqué, traced to a suburb of Mumbai, the group warns of further attacks, including targeting Mumbai, in retaliation for the alleged poor treatment of Muslims in India at the hands of the government.

Investigators say Saturday's bombs contained timers and were placed in trash bins or left on vehicles such as auto rickshaws or bicycles.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi says he warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ten days previous to the Delhi blasts that apprehended terrorist suspects in Gujarat had revealed the national capital would be targeted.

"The information revealed by the terrorists that very soon they are going to do the blasts in Delhi," said Modi.

Media reports here quote Indian government officials as saying the controversial Hindu nationalist gave no such warning and accuse him of trying to politicize the issue.

Indian media quote police sources as saying the explosives used in the attacks in the capital appear to be left over from July blasts in the state of Gujarat - a further clue linking the bombings since last November, now responsible for the deaths of as many as 150 people. 




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