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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


India on High Alert After Bombs Kill More Than 60

30 October 2005

Security forces are on high alert in the Indian capital New Delhi as authorities search for those responsible for three bombs that rocked the city late Saturday, killing at least 61 and injuring more than 180 others.

Shopkeepers in the Paharganj market sift through broken glass and debris littering the street following the bomb attack late Saturday.

Dozens of shops and guesthouses line a narrow road in the area, which is popular with Western backpackers. Many of the shops here have reopened, despite an order from authorities to remain closed.

"Firstly we close our shop, then just to help the victims and take them to the hospital," said Arsi Tukur, one of the shopkeepers, who did his best to help the injured after the blast.

The bombs exploded within minutes of each other, one on a bus and the other two in market places crammed with holiday shoppers preparing for the Hindu festival of Diwali and the Muslim celebration of Eid later this week.

Police sifted through the debris for clues to the identity of the bombers and say they have detained 10 people in connection with the attack.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the bombs and called an emergency cabinet meeting to review security in the capital and across India.

"These terrorists wish to spread a sense of fear and suspicion amongst our peace-loving people," said Mr. Singh. "These blasts have been timed to create disaffection during the festival season when people of all communities are celebrating our national festivals. We shall defeat their nefarious designs and will not allow them to succeed."

India is no stranger to terrorist attacks. Many are blamed on separatist Kashmiri militants, who are fighting to force India to leave the roughly two-thirds of the region under its control.

The militants want predominantly Muslim Kashmir to merge with Pakistan or to become independent.

Control of Kashmir has long been a source of tension between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over the region. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the militants who cross into India to carry out attacks - charges Pakistan denies.

For nearly two years the two countries have been engaged in peace talks that have shown signs of reducing tensions.

And on Sunday, in a landmark decision, India and Pakistan agreed from November 7 to open five points along the heavily militarized Line of Control that divides Kashmir.

The goal is to improve the flow of humanitarian aid and reunite divided families following the October 8 earthquake that devastated communities on both sides of the disputed border. More than 55,000 people died in the quake and hundreds of thousands were left homeless as winter approaches.

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