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Uneasy peace in Malegaon after three blasts kill 37

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Uneasy peace in Malegaon after three blasts kill 37
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Uneasy peace in Malegaon after three blasts kill 37 - September 8th, 2006

New Delhi/ Mumbai/ Nashik: At least 37 people were killed and 56 were seriously injured when three bombs concealed on cycles went off near a mosque in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town when people were coming out after Friday afternoon prayers.
The blasts occurred near the Noorani Mosque in the Bada Kabristan area of the communally sensitive town just after Friday prayers.
Thousands of people were out on the streets on Friday for Shab-e-Barat, a festival during which people offer prayers to dead relatives.
The first blast occurred at 1345 hours IST and two more explosions follow in two minutes. Police suspect a timer device could have been used to trigger off the explosions.
A curfew was imposed in the textile town after the blasts. Maharashtra Police sounded a statewide alert and had mobile networks jammed in the town to prevent rumours.
"The situation in Malegaon is tense but under control," said Maharashtra Director General of Police P S Pasricha. ''The motive appears to be to create panic and make people fight with each other,” he said.
Stampede, crushed bodies
TV channels showed a stampede and people rushing out of a narrow gate of the mosque. Scores of people, children among them, were shown running over bodies and injured people.
The blast site was splattered with blood and limbs. Angry residents pelted stones on policemen and prevented them from reaching the blasts site while a mob of nearly 500 persons laid siege to a police station. A mob attacked Malegaon’s Superintendent of Police when a police team tried to enter the blast site. Police fired 10 rounds to disperse the mob.
"Whether any terror sleeper cells are involved in the blasts is being looked into. The region has become a hotbed for Islamist groups and is also very communally sensitive," a police official said.



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Gory ending to 'Night of Fortune'
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Gory ending to 'Night of Fortune' - September 8th, 2006

Malegaon (Maharashtra): Thousands of people were out on the streets on Friday for Shab-e-Barat or the Night of Fortune in Malegaon.
But destiny had something else in store for these people. At least 37 people died and 56 were seriously injured when two blasts took place at a crowded market in this communally sensitive town, Inspector General (Nashik Range) P K Jain said.

Blood-soaked bodies and limbs lay strewn as the injured groaned in pain. Panicked devotees rushed for their lives through a narrow gate of a mosque-cum-graveyard minutes after the Friday prayers.
A near stampede situation broke out immediately as thousands of devotees, including children, tried to get away from the explosion site, trampling the dead and the seriously injured who lay in their way.
Children, who stumbled on the blood-soaked bodies, were helped by the elders in getting away from the scene.


People used blankets and bedsheets to ferry the injured to the available mode of transport, including pushcarts, to take them to hospitals.

"I was standing at a shop outside the mosque after I finished my prayers, when I heard loud explosions and suddenly everything was covered under a heavy blanket of smoke," an eyewitness, Muzambir Sheikh said.

Some of the victims were beggars who had gathered at the mosque on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat, when Muslims hold nightlong prayers seeking divine blessings.

People alleged that there was a delay in police action and expressed their anger by pelting stones at police and fire brigade vehicles.
"There was no immediate response from the police and the bodies were removed after a long time," Sheikh said.

There was a gathering of at least 5,000-8,000 people at the site at the time of the incident, according to the eyewitnesses.

A night that was meant to bring fortune and goodwill has had a gory ending and now the people of this city only hope that the administration takes steps to revive the peace and harmony.



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