15 killed, 70 injured in Ahmedabad serial blasts(Lead: Ahmedabad Blasts)

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Ahmedabad, July 26 : At least fifteen people were killed and 70 others injured in serial blasts in the eastern quarter of Old Ahmedabad on Saturday evening.

The Gujarat Government said 12 to 16 explosions rocked the area, creating an atmosphere of panic and grief, hard to comprehend. Police said the some of the explosions occurred in Maninagar (Chief Minister Narendra Modi's constituency), Civil Hospital area, Isanpur, Raipur, Sardar Patel Diamond Market, Bapunagar, Hatkeshwar Circle, Narol Circle, Haksar, Sakres, Govindvaani, Jahanpura ,Hasanpur and Sarnagpurbridge.

State Police said the blasts were of low intensity, but a little higher than the Bangalore blasts that took place on Friday. The bombs were kept on bicycles and in tiffin boxes, they added.

Police and the bomb disposal squad have reached the blast sites.

Just before the blasts took place a group called the Indian Mujahiddin sent an e-mail to a television channel saying that there would be blasts in Ahmedabad.

This is the same group that had sent e-mails after the Jaipur blasts in May 2008.

The scene outside civil hospital was just short of a riot with people thronging the hospital even as ambulances with sirens were seen driving right between them.

Ahmedabad and surrounding area has been put under high alert. The mobile network across the city has been jammed.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed to the citizens to maintain calm. President Pratibha Patil and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi also condemned the blasts.

Senior BJP leader and Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani reacting to the blasts said: "I strongly condemn the serial bomb blasts at different places in Ahmedabad today. Coming just a day after serial bomb explosions in Bangalore, these are a pointer to a sinister terrorist offensive against the nation."

Conveying his condolences to the families of those killed and sympathies to those injured, Advani said that he had spoken to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and inquired about the situation.

In a statement issued soon after the blast, the senior BJP leader said: "The latest terrorist attack has once again highlighted the need for a firm and effective anti-terrorist legal framework. The Legislative Assembly of Gujarat has passed a law on the line of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). It is pending with the President for assent for the past four years. A similar legislation in respect of Rajasthan is also awaiting the President's assent. I demand that the Union Government immediately recommend Presidential assent to these two legislations, whose need has been further underscored by the repeal of POTA."

Advani appealed to the people of Gujarat to remain calm, and said it was not correct to say that BJP states were being targeted by terrorists. The need of the hour was for the government to put an effective anti-terror mechanism in place.

BJP President Rajnath Singh also reacted to the terror attack and said, "The centre should work more in co-operation with the state governments to combat terror".

Home Minister Shivraj Patil said that no words were strong enough to condemn such acts. He said it would be premature to blame anyone at this moment for the incidents, and added that it would be prudent to comment after complete details were made available to the Central Government. He said that a meeting of relevant government institutions and officials would take place in New Delhi from 11 a.m. on Sunday to establish the cause behind the blasts, and what steps were needed to counter this menace.

Metro cities like Mumbai and Kolkata have been put on high alert. There are rumours of the Bombay Stock Exchange being targeted next.

ANI

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