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Visits & strikes

n By a strange coincidence, a major terrorist strike seems to take place during the visit of any top US official.

US assistant secretary of state Christina Rocca is in Delhi and the only difference from the previous militant strikes coinciding with American officials’ visits was that this time the incident occurred in Gujarat.

The ominous trend began when terrorists gunned down several members of the Sikh community during President Bill Clinton’s visit in March 2000. Interestingly, Clinton had visited the Akshardham temple at Gandhinagar during that tour.

There were terrorist strikes during the previous visit of Rocca and trips by deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage.

n The Shahi Imam of Delhi’s historic Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, condemned the temple attack, terming it “anti-Islamic”, but said Narendra Modi’s Gaurav Yatra could have provoked it.

“Islam does not permit killing of innocent civilians. I appeal to Muslims and our Hindu brethren to join hands to wipe out terrorism from the country’s soil,” Bukhari said. He, however, added that Modi’s reported anti-minority statements “could have provoked a retaliatory act”.

n Describing the attack on the Swaminarayan temple as an onslaught on India’s secular fabric, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam asserted that security forces were “fully capable of defeating all forms of terrorist attempts against our country and our people”.

“The incident needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all peace-loving people. It would make us more resolute in our resolve against terrorism,” he said.

Urging the people, especially of Gujarat, to maintain peace at this moment of anguish, the President said: “We should unitedly defeat all the evil designs against our great country which lives and shines through the civilisational heritage of our nation and the tolerance of our people.”

n Calcutta police chief Sujay Chakraborty said patrolling in sensitive areas has been intensified. “I have briefed the officers-in-charge of police stations to keep close watch on places of religious interest. The special branch and intelligence wings are also on high alert,’’ he added.

n The Congress pressed on with its arguments in the Supreme Court, contending that Gujarat should be brought under President’s rule. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, who appeared for his party, justified the Election Commission’s observation that imposition of President’s rule would be a way out of the constitutional impasse in the state.

(From PTI and correspondents’ reports)

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