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Bomb Explodes in Busy Indian Market

Top Indian intelligence and security officials were summoned by the Home Minister for an emergency meeting following another fatal bomb blast in the Indian capital. Police say one child died and at least 18 other people were injured in the Saturday afternoon attack. The blast comes two weeks after a series of bomb attacks in the capital left more than 20 people dead. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from New Delhi.

 

Just days after police claimed they had arrested those responsible for the fatal September 13 bomb blasts in New Delhi and elsewhere earlier, another explosion hit a busy market in the Indian capital.

Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat explains that witnesses saw those who brought the bomb to the Meharauli Main Market.

"Two motorcycle riders came to the busy crowded market in Mehrauli and threw one packet wrapped in black polyurethane. One boy picked up that packet which exploded and he died," he said.

Local media quote intelligence sources as saying the bomb, placed in a lunch box, contained ammonium nitrate and was packed with nails. It destroyed several shops.

The explosion occurred in a low income neighborhood, near a wholesale flower market and a major heritage site: the 800-year-old Qutub Minar, the world's tallest brick minaret.

The bombing renewed alarm here that New Delhi remains vulnerable despite the recent crackdown against purported members of the little known "Indian Mujahideen" group.

Media report that the major access roads to Delhi were sealed following the market blast and police advised people stay away from the city's markets.

The home minister, who has been criticized for his response to the blasts two weeks ago, called another emergency meeting of top
intelligence and security officials to discuss the latest attack.

The largest opposition party, the BJP, demanded Minister Shivraj Patel's resignation immediately following the Saturday blast.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee says he has spoken with the Home Minister about the latest attack but it is premature to name any suspects.

"Shortly government will have to take stark measure to put an end to this type of activities and acts of terrors," he said.

Television commentators say the bombers intended to deliver a message that terrorists retain their capability to hit the capital despite the
recent police proclamation that those responsible for the earlier blasts have been neutralized.

The September 13 attacks in the capital followed recent bomb blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.

Officials say more than 400 people have been killed in explosions around the country during the past three years. The attacks are usually blamed by police on Muslim groups, alleged to have funding or support from Pakistan or Bangladesh.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

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