On bakery bombing anniversary, Pune pays homage to victims

Pune, Feb 13 (PTI) Candle light processions and peacemarches were taken out in the city today to pay homage to thevictims of the German Bakery bomb blast that left 17 people,including four foreigners, dead and over 50 injured on thisday last year.

Memorial services have been organised for those whowere killed on that fateful day when a powerful bomb keptunder one of the tables in the eatery exploded, flattening thestructure in Koregaon area and leaving a trail of destruction.

The explosion, that occurred at 6.57 PM, also putPune - the cultural and academic capital of Maharashtra whichhas now turned into an IT and auto hub - on the terror mapalong with neighbouring Mumbai.

It took nearly six months for Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) to nab Himayat Baig, the allegedmastermind behind the blast, who hails from Latur, inMarathwada region, where he ran a cyber cafe and had linkswith Indian Mujaheedin and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Baig, who is on trial after his arrest on September 7,is accused of hatching a conspiracy to blow up the eatery,frequented by foreigners, along with six absconding co-conspirators, during a visit to Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Snehal Kharose, owner of the eatery who was given afinancial assistance of Rs 14 lakh to rebuild the structure,said it would take a few weeks to restart the food joint whichwould have a memorial in its premises for the victims of thebombing.

Pune Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar said allpolice stations had been sensitised after the bombing withformation of special squads for rapid response to a situationand appealed to citizens to remain alert about any possiblesuspicious activity in their vicinity.

The upscale Koregaon Park area, which along with theGerman Bakery is home to other perceived terrorist targetssuch as Chhabad House of Jew community and Osho Ashram withforeign inmates, did not have a police station at the time ofthe attack.

The Maharashtra Government has recently given a goahead for a full-fledged police station in the area.

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