Hope in Kashmir, terror in Delhi: unity of opposites?

Well, India and Pakistan make a courageous and historic decision to open the militarized Line of Control that divides Kashmir in order to allow aid through to remote earthquake-stricken villages (Reuters, Oct. 29). What, putting aside sectarian and geo-political concerns in the interests of humanitarianism? We can’t have that! Immediately before the announcement, bombs explode in a crowded market in Delhi… From the BBC:

Delhi on high alert after blasts
India’s capital Delhi has been put on high alert after three explosions rocked the city killing at least 55 people and injuring many others. The government has called on people to stay indoors, and armed police have taken up positions outside key buildings and the main public areas.

It is not clear who was behind the attacks, although suspicion is likely to fall on Kashmiri militants. Ten people have been detained for questioning, reports say.

The blasts came within minutes, on a day when many people were out shopping ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali and the Muslim Eid celebration.

Two of the explosions ripped through crowded markets and a third exploded on a bus. All major markets in the city have now been ordered to close.

‘Dastardly acts’

All leave has been cancelled for medical staff as hospitals struggle to deal with the injured. More than 100 people are being treated in hospital, and some of them are in a critical condition.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed “terrorists” for the blasts and said he would not tolerate militant violence. In a brief televised address, he said: “These are dastardly acts of terrorism. We are resolute in our commitment to fighting terrorism in all forms.”

Security officials said they could not rule out the involvement of Lashkar-i-Toiba, a radical Muslim group fighting for the self-determination of Kashmir.

The investigation is still in its early stages, and no-one has yet admitted carrying out the explosions.

Localised violence

BBC defence and security correspondent Rob Watson says India is perhaps home to and target of the biggest variety of militant groups of any country in the world. Many of those groups have very localised campaigns of violence. But it has been mainly the Islamists who have been able to mount the spectacular headline-grabbing attacks, our correspondent says.

It is believed that they might be trying to scupper improving relations between Pakistan and India, who hours after the attacks decided to open the Kashmir Line of Control to help victims of the recent earthquake.

Agreement between the two countries came after Pakistan condemned the explosions, describing them as a “criminal act of terrorism”.

Chaos and confusion

Most of those killed are believed to have died in the blast at the southern Sarojini Nagar market.

A number also reportedly died in the first explosion, minutes before, in the crowded central neighbourhood of Paharganj, an area close to Delhi’s main railway station and popular with Western backpackers.

Some reports say the third blast, at Govindpuri, was a bus bomb and that three people died.

Jeez man, what is their fucking problem? Can’t they just chill the fuck out already?

Questions: Did the presumed jihadis have advance word that the Line of Control was to be opened and timed the attack too coincide with the announcement—or, more “optimistically” (from their warped perspective), scuttle it? And if so, did they get advance word from elements in the Pakistani intelligence apparatus? Does this indicate a split in Musharraf’s regime?

Oh, and how long before the metronomically predictable Kurt Nimmo tells us this was the work of the CIA?

See our last post on Kashmir and the ongoing Indo-Pakistani crisis.

  1. And now back to hideous normalcy in Kashmir itself…
    Kashmir car bomb kills six

    ISN SECURITY WATCH (02/11/05) – At least six people were killed and as many as 18 others injured in an apparent suicide attack near Srinagar, the capital of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state on early Wednesday, as the state was preparing to swear in a new chief minister later in the day.

    The suicide bomber, whom the authorities believe was linked to the militant Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), blew himself in a car rigged with explosives at Nowgam, near the private residence of outgoing chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

    Later on Wednesday, Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress Party was sworn in as the new chief minister of India’s restive Kashmir state in accordance with a power-sharing agreement between his party and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

    Claiming responsibility for the attack via a local news agency, a spokesman for JeM, which has been blamed for a number of attacks in the state, said: “The car bomb is [JeM’s] first gift to [Ghulam Nabi] Azad.