The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Terror flashes obscure face

Oct. 30: Delhi summoned up a message of defiance today by keeping the two blast-devastated markets open as a little-known outfit calling itself the Inquilab group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s three explosions that killed 59 people.

A caller identifying himself as Ahmad Yar Gaznavi phoned the Srinagar-based news agency Kashmir News Service to say: “Our activists carried out the bombings in Delhi yesterday.”

A senior police official in Srinagar said: “We have not heard of the group so far. However, it is possible some other militant group is using the name to throw us off the scent.”

There was a militant group called Islami Inquilab-e-Mahaz that police said was active till the mid-’90s.

Karnail Singh, Delhi police joint commissioner, special cell, said: “We are investigating these claims. However, Lashkar-e-Toiba is connected to this organisation.”

In the past, little-known groups had claimed responsibility for attacks, but were later found to be linked to bigger outfits.

Home minister Shivraj Patil, who had advised Delhi residents yesterday to return home after the blasts, struck a different note by assuring people that the government was doing all it could to make Diwali and Id safe.

“We have already gathered a lot of information about the blasts and the possible outfit responsible for them but would not like to disclose it at this juncture as it would hamper the investigations,” he said after an emergency cabinet meeting.

People entering Delhi and other metropolises were being watched, he added.

Both Sarojini Nagar and Paharganj markets ' the scene of blasts ' opened today as the government and mourning traders decided to try and get back to normal as quickly as possible. Crowds were thinner than usual, but Delhi was not hiding indoors.

Security was stepped up in sensitive and crowded areas with strong police presence in markets and sensitive locations like the Metro and railway stations and airports.

Some 2,600 additional armed personnel, besides central paramilitary forces, were deployed in the capital. The police set up sandbag pickets and erected metal detector doorframes in some markets.

Karnail Singh, who is heading the inquiry into the blasts that also left 210 people injured, said over 300 guesthouses and small-budget hotels were raided through the night.

Registers of some of these guesthouses were taken away for verification. A reward of Rs 1 lakh was announced for information leading to the arrest of the culprits.

Sources said over 25 people were picked up for questioning. Singh said no arrests or detentions had been made.

Singh said it would be premature to link the blasts to the sentencing in the Red Fort attack case that was due on Saturday evening, but was put off.

Security around Karkardooma Court complex was tightened for tomorrow’s sentencing of Pakistan-based Lashkar militant Mohammad Arif and six others convicted in the December 2000 attack.

The pattern of the blasts indicated that a single group was responsible. “By looking into the timing and process of operation, it seems that the blasts were triggered by a single group. In one of the places, in Govindpuri, an electronic timer was used,” Singh said.

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