The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jittery Gujarat sees no link with riots

Ahmedabad, Aug. 25: A jittery Gujarat government today scrambled to put state security on high alert within minutes of the Mumbai blasts but ruled out any link between them and the post-Godhra communal riots.

Chief minister Narendra Modi immediately ordered that vigil be tightened in sensitive areas as well as at airports, railway stations, cinema halls, bus stations, important religious places and in crowded market places across the state.

He condemned the blasts as a deep-rooted conspiracy to break the country’s economic backbone, destabilise the nation and create chaos. But neither the government nor the Opposition saw “the explosions as a retaliatory act of riot victims”, although one of the blasts occurred in the Gujarati dominated Zaveri market.

State home secretary K. Nityanandam said “the high alert had to be sounded as a precautionary, routine drill”. But he made it clear there was no connection between today’s blasts and the post-Godhra communal violence. “We cannot even think of that,” he said.

Gujarat Pradesh Congress chief Shankersinh Vaghela echoed the home secretary. But he termed the blasts an act of terrorism that should be investigated by a central agency.

Vaghela said he did not think Modi was “the target” of the blasts. If he was, “the explosions should have occurred yesterday when he was in Mumbai to launch the viranjali yatra”, he said.

The yatra — carrying the urns containing the ashes of freedom fighter Shyamji Varma and his wife — will conclude in Mandvi in Kutch on September 4 with the urns being handed to Varma’s family.

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