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Serial blasts in buses jolt Ahmedabad


GANDHINAGAR, Statesman News Service:

In a major jolt to the fledgling peace and reconciliation process in Gujarat, at least 12 people were injured today when three bombs went off, almost simultaneously, in three buses in Ahmedabad during rush hour.
Another bomb exploded at Panigate in Baroda tonight, injuring two people. Curfew has been imposed on the area.
Three policemen were injured when they tried to defuse a few crude bombs at Kalupur bus stand in Ahmedabad and Ghuna village near Bopal on the city’s outskirts.
The bombs went off after 10 a.m. at Gurukul in the Satellite area, Geeta Mandir circle in the Kanguspeeth area and Vasna bus stand in the Vejapur area.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, police said.
Two people were injured in the first case, six in the second and four in the third.
The injured have been admitted to LG and VS hospitals.
All the bombs were placed in tiffin boxes at the rear-end of the buses. At Gurukul, the bus conductor found an unclaimed tiffin box and placed it behind the driver’s seat, where it exploded.
Mr Satish Verma, ACP, Ahmedabad, said: “These are crude bombs with a degree of sophistication...No bomb was loaded with high explosives like RDX; only low explosives were used and therefore the effect was limited’’. Police are yet to find clues to the blasts.
Mr Verma said: “The blasts seem to have been coordinated’’.
The driver, Devji Prajapati, and conductor, Ashok, of the bus in which a bomb went off near Geeta Mandir, said there were “some 70 to 80 passengers in the bus’’. The blast blew glass windows into fragments and passengers rushed out in panic. The explosion left a gaping hole of three feet in the rear left corner of the bus.
The director of the State Forensic Science Laboratory and his team collected evidence from the site. He said the report would be available after a thorough investigation.
This is the first time since Godhra that public transport has been targeted. The blast at Geeta Mandir was two km from the Shah Alam refugee camp.
The Ahmedabad police commissioner, Mr KR Kaushik, has appealed to people not to listen to rumours. He has asked them to be vigilant about unclaimed objects, adds PTI.
“Today’s incidents are clear indications that some elements are not in favour of peace,” Mr Kaushik said, adding: “They want to show that still disturbance and panic can be created in the city which is fighting back to normalcy since last fortnight.”
“Today’s incidents were not communal. They were aimed at spreading panic.”
Refusing to rule out involvement of outside elements, he said: “The leads indicate it was the work of local elements. Investigations are on.”
Determined not to let the peace process derail, Mr KPS Gill directed the commissioner “not to spare the guilty.”
The state Cabinet described the blasts as “acts of terrorism.”

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