JAIPUR – Terror struck yet again — this time in Jaipur, at the busiest market, at the busiest hour, aimed with chilling precision to kill, maim, terrify and cleave the country. At last count, the toll was 80 killed, and with over 150 injured, it could go up.
The first blast took place at 7.20pm on Tuesday in the crowded Johari Bazaar and within 15 minutes seven more blasts occurred in adjoining areas in the walled city — near the Hanuman Mandir, which was milling with devotees, near Hawa Mahal, at Badi Chaupad, Tripolia Bazar and Chandpole.
Within minutes, the entire market was a picture of total chaos. People ran screaming, jumping over dead bodies and severed limbs, skirting mangled rickshaws and damaged cars. The piercing wail of ambulance sirens replaced the firecrackers that would go off every other day in Jaipur to celebrate its victorious Rajasthan Royals T20 team.
Terrorists displaying the telltale tactics of Lashkar-e-Taiba and SIMI struck with bombs planted on cycles and cycle-rickshaws. In the past three years, this is the 21st terror attack outside Jammu & Kashmir. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje said, “We will not tolerate this.”
Police later arrested a man from Mumbai. Rajasthan’s director general of police, A S Gill, said the attacks were designed to cause maximum damage and the sites had been picked with care. He confirmed that bombs had been planted on brand- new Avon cycles. Similar cycle blasts on September 8, 2006, in Malegaon, Maharashtra, had killed 38 people during a Muslim festival day. Bombs on cycles were also used for the attack on the Faizabad court.
The Malegaon attacks were blamed on LeT and the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India.
The Jaipur attack might have been worse had three unexploded bombs not been defused in the walled city area. Another bomb was defused in the upmarket Raja Park area, triggering fresh fears. Mercifully, the city was keeping calm.