News / Asia

India on Alert After Bombing in Holy City

Indian police officers stand guard near the site of Tuesday's blast on the banks of the River Ganges in Varanasi, India, 08 Dec 2010
Indian police officers stand guard near the site of Tuesday's blast on the banks of the River Ganges in Varanasi, India, 08 Dec 2010

Indian authorities have appealed for calm and sounded a nationwide alert following a bomb attack in the Hindu holy city, Varanasi, which killed a child and injured 37 other people, including foreign tourists.  An Indian Islamist group has claimed responsibility for the bomb  - the second in an Indian city this year.  

Security was tightened because of the havoc caused by a bomb blast the previous evening, as hundreds of devotees gathered for prayers in Varanasi.   

The bomb, hidden in a metal canister, had exploded close to a group offering ritual evening prayers along the Ganges River, Tuesday.  A two-year-old girl died in her mother's lap and dozens were injured in a stampede that ensued in the wake of the explosion.  Seven foreigners were among the wounded.  Varanasi, in the northern Uttar Pradesh state, is a popular tourist destination.    

Fearing more attacks, authorities put police on high alert, across the country.

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited Varanasi Wednesday to meet victims of the terror strike.  He is appealing for calm.  He said the scene of the bomb blast was identified as a militant target, earlier this year.  

" I think there is a lesson for the police, there is no question of relaxing the vigil," he said.

Police have questioned several people in connection with an e-mail, in which a local Islamist group called the Indian Mujaheddin claimed responsibility for the explosion.  Police say the e-mail was sent to local media from Mumbai.

In the message, the group says it carried out the bomb blast in retaliation for a recent court ruling which divided a religious site at Ayodhya claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. The blast took place a day after the anniversary of the 1992 demolition of the mosque which stood there.

Authorities in India say the Indian Mujaheddin has been trained by terror groups in Pakistan, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which New Delhi blames for many of the terror strikes in Indian cities in recent years.    

The 2008 attacks in Mumbai were the most audacious and prompted a massive revamp of security in the country.

Home Minister Chidambaram says 2009 were free of any terror strikes, but the country has witnessed two incidents this year.  In February, 17 people were killed in western Pune city.

"I was hoping and praying the year would come to an end without another incident, but unfortunately we have had this incident," he said.

Varanasi is no stranger to bomb blasts.  This week's attack is the fourth in the town since 2005.

Varanasi is one of Hinduism's most holy cities. Thousands visit the town to offer prayers or to cremate their dead along the banks of the Ganges River.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid