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Arrests over India bombings
Rajasthan authorities lift curfew a day after blasts kill and wound hundreds.
Last Modified: 15 May 2008 03:34 GMT
The bombs went off in crowded Jaipur markets [EPA]

Indian police have arrested two more men a day after a series of bombings killed dozens and left more than 200 wounded in the northern tourist city of Jaipur, a state official said.

 

Vasundhara Raje, chief minister of Rajasthan state, said several others were detained for questioning in relation to

"We have information that 63 people have died and many are injured critically," she said on Wednesday.
 
"RDX and ammonium nitrate were used. Ball-bearings were used, which have weight, and they behave like tiny missiles. Timing devices were used."

Raje said the bombings "seems to have been done by some international group".

 

Police believe the bombs that went off within minutes of each other were planted on bicycles.

 

Curfew lifted


Authorities also lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed immediately after the explosions rocked crowded markets on Tuesday night.

The curfew and additional police were aimed at preventing any retaliatory violence as authorities suspect Islamic militants to be behind the blasts and fear potential clashes between the city's Hindu majority and its sizeable Muslim minority.

Earlier Gulab Chand Kataria, Rajasthan's home minister, said around a dozen people had been detained.

 

"We are trying our best to unravel the conspiracy behind this dastardly attack," he told AFP.

 

Among those detained were a rickshaw puller and one of the wounded, said police, releasing a sketch of a suspect they wanted to question.

Bicycle bombs

 

Police say the bombs, many of them strapped to bicycles, exploded within minutes of each other on Tuesday evening.

 

The blasts targeted busy markets and Hindu temples, leaving hundreds of people injured.

 

"The way it has been done, the attempt was to cause the maximum damage to human life"

A.S. Gill,
Rajasthan state police chief

No one has claimed responsibility for India's deadliest bomb attacks in nearly two years.

 

Authorities have suggested Pakistan-based groups, which India accuses its neighbour and rival of backing, were to blame.

 

"Obviously it's a terrorist attack," said A.S. Gill, the police chief of Rajasthan.

 

"The way it has been done, the attempt was to cause the maximum damage to human life."

 

An eighth bomb failed to explode and was defused by police.

 

Al Jazeera correspondent Matt McClure reporting from Jaipur said building and shop signs around one of the attack sites were pockmarked with holes from ballbearings that police say were packed into the bombs.

 

'State of terror'

 

The series of blasts targeted busy
areas of Jaipur's old walled city [EPA]
Ashok Parnami, the city's mayor, said Jaipur had been placed in "a state of terror" by the attacks.

 

One bomb went off at a market near a temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman.

 

Tuesday is the day of worship set aside for Hanuman, and the temple was crowded with people offering prayers on their way home from work.

 

Another bomb detonated near the Johari Bazaar, the city's jewellery market and a popular tourist destination.

 

May is considered low season for the city's tourism industry and there were no immediate indication that foreigners had been caught in any of the explosions.

 

"One can't rule out the involvement of a foreign power," said Sriprakash Jaiswal, India's junior home minister. He refused to say if he was talking about Pakistan, but said "the blasts are part of a big conspiracy".

 

Spate of bombings

 

Pranab Mukherjee, India's foreign minister, is due to visit Pakistan in just over a week to review the four-year-old peace process.

 

His trip will be his first since a new, civilian government took over in Pakistan.

 

Indian authorities have blamed Pakistan-based groups for a spate of bombings that have killed nearly 400 people since 2005.

 

Pakistan denies any role in the bombings.

 

Indian authorities stepped up security at airports and railway stations across the country after Tuesday's attacks.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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