Ahmedabad, capital of the Indian state of Gujarat, was hit by 17 blasts in a space of 70 minutes July 26, killing at least 45 and leaving some 150 injured—one day after eight near-simultaneous explosions rocked the southern city of Bangalore, killing one and wounding six. In an e-mail sent to New Delhi’s Intelligence Bureau, a group calling itself the “Indian Mujahedeen” claimed responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts. The same group also claimed responsibility for recent deadly bombings in Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh.
The Ahmedabad blasts occurred in two waves. The first series were detonated in crowded markets; the second wave, less than half an hour later, targeted two hospitals where the injured had been taken. Television footage showed blood-covered victims writhing in agony on hospital floors. The explosions were caused by crudely made devices that peppered victims with red-hot ball bearings and shrapnel.
Ahmedabad was the scene of anti-Muslim pogroms in which some 2,000 were killed in 2002—and in which Gujarat state’s ruling Hindu nationalist BJP has been heavily implicated. Gujarat has also seen retaliatory killings by Muslim militants, although it has been relatively peaceful for the last five years—despite the BJP’s controversial reelection to the state government last year. The e-mail claiming responsibility for the July 26 blasts reportedly read “Await five minutes for the revenge of Gujarat.” Bangalore, scene of the previous day’s bombings, is the capital of Karnataka state—also ruled by the BJP. (CSM, July 28; BBC, July 27; The Statesman, India, July 26)