| (Top)Women offer prayers in the Jama Masjid complex in New Delhi on Saturday and A man (centre) looks through a metal detector set up outside the Jama Masjid in New Delhi on Saturday. (AFP)
New Delhi, April 15: The Prime Minister today visited Jama Masjid and praised the city’s residents for their restraint after the twin blasts during evening prayers yesterday.
“It is time for all of us to stand together,” Manmohan Singh said, acknowledging Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s efforts in keeping peace.
Intelligence sources said four persons had been detained but the police denied this. The sources said two persons were held late last evening and the other two during this morning’s surveillance around the mosque, where metal detectors were installed and security forces deployed today.
The detainees reportedly include a man from Bihar who could not explain what he was doing at the site. The rest were local residents whose movements had seemed suspicious.
The suspects could be linked to Lashkar-e-Toiba bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda, believed to have carried out a series of blasts in Delhi in 1997-98, the sources said. Tunda had escaped to Bangladesh and was reported to have died there, but this was never confirmed.
The Shahi Imam told the Prime Minister he hoped the bombers would be caught soon, said a source present inside Jama Masjid during Singh’s visit.
Singh had earlier gone to the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Hospital to inquire about the injured. Apart from two men and a girl, the other 10 injured have been discharged.
It was around 7.20 pm when the Prime Minister entered the mosque through the Shahi Darwaza (gate No. 2) and went straight to the blast site. Later, he addressed the handful of people present through the mosque’s public address system.
Singh left for his residence after about 10 minutes, promising increased security.
Delhi police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel were posted at the mosque today and metal detectors and door frames installed at the two main gates.
The home ministry has asked for a review of security at all major mosques in the country. The ministry had sent advisories to all states last night asking them to be on high alert and foil any attempt to disturb peace.
A Hindi TV news channel claimed to have received an email warning of a blast in the area just a day before the explosions took place. It said that after the blasts, it had received another email reminding it about the earlier warning.