One killed, 18 injured in South Delhi mkt blast; red alert sounded

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New Delhi, Sep 27 (UNI) Two weeks after serial bomb blasts rocked the Capital claiming nearly two dozen lives, another explosion hit the city this afternoon killing a child and injuring at least 18 others in Mehrauli area of South Delhi.

Confirming the casualty, Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal said it was a ''low intensity blast''.

The explosion occurred in the crowded flower market at about 1415 hrs in which a 13-year-old boy died and 18 others were injured, according to area DCP H G S Dhaliwal.

''We are looking for two men, in the age group of 20-25, of which one was wearing black jeans trouser and perhaps also a black T-shirt.'' The injured have been admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre, he said and added that the nature and cause of the blast was yet to be ascertained.

The two assailants came on a motorcycle of which the pillion 'dropped' a tiffin box wrapped in a black polybag, according to eyewinesses.

They said when a small child picked up the packet he dropped it immediately on seeing smoke coming out of it. But he couldn't escape instant death as the packet exploded.

''The blast could be heard upto 200 metres from the site,'' they said and added that the men were on a black motorcycle.

Police later recovered the motorcycle yards away from the blast site, leading to the belief that the culprits fled on foot, even as senior police officials, including the Police Commissioner, monitored the investigations at the spot later.

The blast took place in front of an electrical/electronic goods shop leaving it and several others in its vicinity mostly destroyed.

However, AIIMS spokesperson said 17 injured people were brought to the hospital of which the condition of seven was serious.

''Those brought here include eleven men, three women and three children.'' Of these three were being operated upon, he added.

Immediately after the blast, sensing more 'trouble' police sounded a high alert in the capital and tightened security at all strategic locations, busy spots, market places and metro stations.

''Stop-and-check operation has started at several locations in South Delhi to nab the accused,'' said a senior security official adding that vigil has been stepped up all over the city.

''Immediate steps have been taken to prevent any such recurrence at any other place, mainly because it is a Saturday and the last blasts here took place on Saturday.'' Patrolling has been intensified all over Delhi and extra forces are being rushed at busy market places, he said and added that there was no cause for panic as ''we are already under a state of high alert''.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee summoned Home Minister Shivraj Patil to brief him about the incident.

Earlier, Mr Patil held a meeting of senior officials of the Home Ministry to discuss the situation arising out the blast.

Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta later told reporters that Police Commissioner and senior officials of the Home Ministry were trying to gather information about the blast from local people and that he was in touch with them.

He also said that investigations were on so he would not speculate about its nature and urged the media not to speculate as well as it was not in public interest.

However, Delhi police refused to confirm or deny reports that it had received a call yesterday, later traced to a PCO in Faridabad, threatening blasts in the Capital.

UNI AN SP BD1830

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