Imam calls for peace after Delhi mosque blast

From Gulf News, United Arab Emirates, via TMCNet, April 15:

New Delhi: Delhi was put under red alert after two low-intensity blasts rocked the historic Jama Masjid yesterday.

At least 15 people were injured in the twin blasts that took place inside the 17th century mosque while the evening prayers were on. The condition of one of the injured is serious and is battling for his life.

While places worships were being targeted for sometime, it is the first attack on a mosque. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The Delhi Police believe since low-intensity bombs were used, the idea was to scare people rather than kill them.

The miscreants nearly achieved their target as thousands of irate people gathered outside the red sandstone mosque built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan raising slogans.

However, a timely intervention by the Shahi Imam of the mosque, Syed Ahmad Bukhari, defused the gathering tension.

He appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony, as any show of anger would help the miscreants accomplish their goal.

Federal Home Minster Shivraj Patil later praised the role played by the Imam in defusing the tension in the walled city area.

The Imam himself had a close escape. He was on his way to the water tank when a bomb went off close to the tank.

The first bomb blast took place at 5:30pm followed by the second blast 10 minutes later. The mosque was not harmed by the blasts.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi have appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony.

The two leaders also condemned the attack on the mosque. Incidentally the twin blasts have come close on the heels of communal riots in neighbouring Aligarh town in Uttar Pradesh.

The evening prayers, disrupted by the blasts, were later resumed while the police cordoned off the entire area and began investigations. Eight fire tenders, four ambulances and the bomb disposal squad reached the spot within minutes of the blasts.

Is this revenge for last month’s attacks on a Hindu temple and worshippers in Varanasi?

See our last post on India.