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Bomb blast at Ajmer Dargah - 2 killed
Posted by: Mehtab Singh (IP Logged)
Date: October 12, 2007 04:43AM

[publication.samachar.com]

JAIPUR: A bomb blast ripped through the historic dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer on Thursday evening, killing two persons and injuring 17 others, three of them critically. The blast took place at Ahata-e-Noor, 20 metres from the mausoleum inside the shrine, shortly after the fast-breaking custom of Iftar.

Ahata-e-Noor, the courtyard outside the burial place of the 13th century Sufi saint, was packed to the capacity because of the ongoing month of Ramzan when the blast, stated to be of low intensity, occurred at 6.12 p.m.

Nearly 5,000 devotees were present in different parts of the shrine to break the fast and offer Maghrib (evening) prayers. Panic gripped the dargah and neighbourhood when the deafening sound of the explosion was heard. Devotees scampered to vacate the dargah and rushed to the narrow alleyways. The shops in the market in front of the shrine were hurriedly closed. Police, who reached the site immediately, cordoned off the entire area.

One person died on the spot, and the other succumbed to injuries on way to the hospital. The injured were admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital where emergency arrangements were made for their treatment.

Amid the commotion to get out and take the injured to the hospital, a crowd of angry devotees attacked policemen at the permanent police post in the Dargah Bazaar. The situation was immediately brought under control and the district administration appealed to the people to maintain calm.

Ajmer Divisional Commissioner Deepak Upreti said an extra force had been rushed to the pilgrim city even though law and order had been restored with the Dargah Bazaar shut down.

He said normality would be restored to let the people return to the shrine by Friday, when special prayers are to be offered to mark Alvida Jumaa (last Friday of Ramzan).

The main gate of the dargah, which was closed for some time, was opened late evening and top officials visited the blast site. According to the initial reports, the blast material was stuffed inside a tiffin box with a timing device to explode just when the devotees would be breaking the fast.

While a team of forensic experts was on way to the blast site, police believed that the perpetrators of the blast wanted to cause maximum casualty by planning its time and spot. It was probably because of the crude bombs low intensity that the damage was not extensive.

Even as a high-level meeting of police officers was convened at the State police headquarters here to review the law and order situation and an alert was sounded across the State, a delegation of Congress, led by AICC Secretary Harendra Mirdha, left for Ajmer to meet the injured and visit the dargah.

The 13th century dargah is one of Indias most revered religious places and attracts people belonging to all religions from all over the country, especially during the week-long Urs ceremony observing the death anniversary of the Sufi saint who is also known as Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (patron of the poor). Devotees refer to the pilgrim city as Ajmer Sharif as a mark of respect for the Khwaja.

Muslim social groups here condemned the attack inside the dargah, saying it was clearly aimed at disturbing communal harmony in the State. Jamat-e-Islami Hind State president Mohammed Salim said the elements choosing soft targets like the dargah should be identified by a thorough probe and their conspiracy exposed.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has condemned the blast at the Ajmer dargah, saying that condemnable designs of elements inimical to the country to cause communal discord should not be allowed to succeed.

Appealing to the people to remain calm and face the situation bravely, Mr. Patil assured the Rajasthan government that it would be helped to provide succour to the victims of the blast and act against the culprits.

 





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