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Twin blasts at historic Jama Masjid, 14 injured

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 15: Fourteen people, including a 10-year-old child, were injured as two low intensity blasts rocked the historic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi last evening.

The twin blasts took place within a span of eight minutes, with the first explosion occurring at about 1725 hrs inside the Jama Masjid where Friday evening prayers were on, according to Police Commissioner K K Paul.

''The case has been handed over to the Special Cell which will investigate it,'' he added.

The Commissioner, who inspected the blast site inside the Masjid, sought cooperation from the people to bring the guilty to book.

Promising a swift and thorough probe into the incident, he asked the people to maintain calm and desist from paying heed to rumours.

Though officials maintained that 12 people were injured, LNJP hospital sources said 14 injured had been admitted of which the condition of three people was said to be serious.

Describing the blasts as ''low intensity and crude'', Lt Governor B L Joshi told mediapersons that the condition of one person who sustained shrapnel wounds was serious.

''Neither any structural damage has taken place nor has any crater formed at the blast site,'' he added People with minor injuries are being treated at the LNJP hospital, he said.

Appealing to the people not to create panic over the situation, the LG said peace and harmony was the need of the hour.

''It is not an alarming situation and all efforts are being made to nab those involved in the blasts,'' he added.

Refusing to admit it was a security lapse, Lt Governor Joshi also denied that any 'group' had owned responsibility for the blasts.

''Its a deplorable act done to create terror among the people.

The matter will be investigated thoroughly and all those responsible will be brought to book.'' Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari has asked people to maintain calm.

Lt Governor Joshi and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visited the scene of the blasts.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and UPA chairperson also visited the injured at the hospital.

Meanwhile, security in the capital has been beefed up in the aftermath of the blasts. Earlier, a huge posse of policemen and senior officers including Commissioner K K Paul reached the site. As many as eight fire tenders, four ambulances and bomb disposal squads had reached the spot.

Within hours of the blasts, the situation was brought under control with the police cordoning off the area and shifting the injured to the hospital.

But soon people were sent in groups inside the Jama Masjid to look for themselves that nothing had happened to the Masjid.

Even evening prayers at 1845 hrs were held as per schedule as normalcy returned.

However, soon after the blasts, shops in the area downed shutters.

As soon as the news of blasts spread, thousands of residents of the area gathered outside the Jama Masjid complex. Sources said more than ten thousand people had gathered outside.

After the Commissioner's assurance that the perpetrators of the crime would be brought to book, calm prevailed.

President A P J Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister shivraj Patil and Congress president Sonia Gandhi condemned the blasts and appealed for calm and harmony.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit later said ex-gratia would be paid to the injured ''as per norms''.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 20,000 each for the injured in the blasts. The amount would be disbursed among the injured tomorrow.

UNI

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