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Blast Outside Delhi HC, 11 Killed, 64 Injured

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Terror struck the Capital when a powerful bomb placed in a briefcase ripped through a crowded reception area at the entrance to the High Court on Wednesday morning killing 11 people and leaving 64 injured.

The "high intensity" bomb blast outside the High Court compound between Gate No. 4 and 5 occured at 10.14 AM when 100 to 200 litigants were waiting to get passes to enter the premises. Some lawyers were also present at that time.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said the blast was of "high intensity" and called it a "terrorist attack". The blast also left a 3-4 feet crater at the site of the explosion.

Chidambaram said it was not possible to identify the group behind the attack. It was for the second time in less than four months that the Delhi High Court was targeted. No one was injured in the previous explosion on May 25.

Union Home Ministry sources said the death toll has risen to 11. Sixty-five persons were injured out of whom 15 are in a serious condition, the sources said.

The probe into the blast was handed over by Government to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) whose Chief S C Sinha said a 20-member team headed by a DIG has been formed.

A TV channel said it had received a mail purportedly written by Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami(HuJI).

The mail claimed that the blast was carried out by HuJI to demand repeal of death sentence of Afzal Guru, a condemned prisoner in Parliament attack.

Sinha felt it was too premature to comment on HuJI mail but said NIA was looking at it seriously because the outfit is a very prominent terrorist group which considers India as target number one.He said there were no clear leads as of now.

Lawyers and litigants with blood soaked clothes ran helter-skelter and chaos broke out after the deafening explosion in the heart of the Capital which could be heard even one km away. Some complained of hearing loss.

Broken limbs and pieces of flesh were strewn on the ground along with shards of glass.

An eyewtiness suggested that the bomber may have queued up at the reception gate for entry passes and left the briefcase in which the bomb was hidden.

Court proceedings were suspended for a while before they were resumed.

Blast Despite Alert In July: PC
As terror struck capital again, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday regretted that the bomb blast near High Court here had taken place despite intelligence being shared with Delhi Police in July and the force being on high alert.

He told Parliament that it was not possible at "this stage" to identify the group behind the attack but asserted that government will not be intimidated by terrorist groups and was "determined to track down the perpetrators of this horrific crime and bring them to justice."

Making identical statements with "profound sorrow and regret" in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Chidambaram noted that Delhi is a target of terrorist groups and when Parliament is in session and during certain other times of the year, the capital is placed on high alert.

"Intelligence agencies constantly share intelligence inputs with Delhi Police. Intelligence pertaining to threats emanating from certain groups was shared with Delhi Police in July, 2011," the Home Minister said.

"At this stage, it is not possible to identify the group that caused the bomb blast today," he said about the terror strike which was the second incident at the High Court in over three months.

Observing that the objective of terrorist groups was to strike fear and to destabilise the country, Chidambaram said, "We are clear in our mind that there is no cause that will justify terrorist acts. Government unequivocally condemns the terrorist attack that took place today."

Appealing to Parliament and the country to "remain resolute and united" at this point of time, he said, "We must not show any vacillation. We shall never be intimidated by terrorist groups."

Chidambaram said the case has been handed over to National Investigative Agency (NIA).

"On behalf of the government, I offer my sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. I offer my sympathies to those who have been injured," he said, assuring the House that the government would extend the best medical treatment to the injured.

Giving details of the incident, the Home Minister said the "high intensity" blast occurred at 10.14 AM just outside the reception centre of the High Court between gate no. 4 and gate no. 5.

"It is suspected that the bomb was placed in a briefcase," Chidambaram said, adding teams from Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL), NIA and NSG rushed to the spot.

"A post blast investigation team of the Delhi Police is also carrying out investigations," he said.

The scene of the incident was cordoned off immediately and ambulances reached the scene and removed the injured within 20 minutes, he added.

(PTI)


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