Ahmedabad, July 28 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday commended the people of Gujarat for the resilience shown by them in the wake of terror attacks on Saturday's serial bomb blast.
The Prime Minister said this during his day-long visit to Ahmedabad.
"I commend the people of Gujarat for the resilience they have shown. These terrorist acts are aimed at destroying our social fabric, undermining communal harmony and demoralising our people," he said.
Singh also announced enhancement of ex-gratia payment from Rs one lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh each to next of kin of those killed in the terror attacks.
Singh, who was accompanied by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Shivraj Patil said, "We have come to express our solidarity with the people of Gujarat in their hour of crisis."
"We will rise to the challenge and I am confident we will be able to defeat these forces," Singh said while reading out a brief statement.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and senior State Government officials accompanied the three dignitaries from Delhi on Monday afternoon, two days after more than 16 bombs devastated parts of East Ahmedabad, causing grief, shock and panic among its residents and damaging property.
Modi briefed the Prime Minister on the serial blasts and the steps taken by his Government to deal with the situation.
Dr. Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Patil also visited Ahmedabad's Civil Hospital, which took the brunt of the blasts, to commiserate with the survivors of the tragedy. The medical staff briefed them about the number of injured that were being treated. In atmosphere that was still reverberating with grief and emotion, the three commended the medical staff for their efforts, and instructed them to provide all necessary facilities to the injured. They also visited the LG Hospital where the injured had been admitted. Chief Minister Modi, senior bureaucrats and police officials also accompanied them to some of the sites that were targets of Saturday's blasts, and briefed them about the extent of the damage incurred. As on Monday, the death toll has crept upto 49 and over 160 injured, and Ahmedabad Police and officials of other investigative agencies are coming around to the view that the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) could be behind this latest attack On Sunday, the State Administration called in the Army to stage flag marches in several parts of the city to restore public confidence. As with previous serial blasts, whether in Jaipur or Varanasi, investigators are yet to make tangible headway, despite recovering two cars packed with explosive material in Surat. Parallels are being drawn with the May 13 Jaipur blasts in which the vehicles of death were the ubiquitous "aam admi" mode of transport - bicycles and table clocks with timers. Intelligence experts also believe that there is a link with the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami and Al-Qaida-linked Lashkar-e-Toiba. Police say the scale of Saturday''s attacks would have needed a network of more than 50 terrorists; something only a SIMI-HuJI combine could deliver. Police also suspect ammonium nitrate and LPG bottles were used for maximum impact in the two bombs that went off at LG Hospital and Civil Hospital. Police say 5kg LPG cylinders were strapped along with the ammonium nitrate mix to create greater heat and power. At LG Hospital, a portion of a wall was blown off and more than 20 people died at the Civil Hospital alone. Meanwhile, the city crime branch has confirmed the arrest of a person named Abdul Halim from Dani Limda area in the heart of the city.