New Delhi: Terror struck Delhi again, Wednesday, when a powerful bomb went off outside the Delhi High Court at 10.17 am. At least 11 persons were confirmed dead, while more than 76 others were injured, some critically.
The blast occurred between Gate No. 4 and 5 of the Delhi High Court when around 200 visitors, mostly litigants, were waiting in queue to get passes to enter the court premises on a busy PIL day. Around 200 people are said to have been at the spot at the time of the blast. The bomb is believed to have been placed in a briefcase and left near gate number five of the court.
Severed limbs and pieces of flesh lay strewn on the ground where there were pools of blood after the deafening explosion that dug a small crater outside the reception area.
Home Minister P Chidambaram confirmed in Parliament that the blast was a terror attack. However, the module behind the attack is yet to be identified. He said that the perpetrators of the blast would be brought to justice.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has taken over the investigation and is probing all angles.
Delhi Police has released sketches of two suspects involved in planting the bomb.
Home Secretary RK Singh said the blast was of "medium to high intensity" and created a "deep crater" at the site, adding that, "It had all the makings of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) set up by a terror group."
As per the eyewitnesses, the blast was very loud and powerful.
Amid pandemonium, the injured were rushed to the nearby hospitals like Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital. The death toll may increase further as many of the injured are in a serious condition.
The entire area was cordoned off by the Indian Army. Forensic teams, including the NSG, are already at work to collect evidence, while NSG commandos are on standby. The NIA sleuths are also at the spot.
About 2 kg of explosives were used in the blast, Home Ministry informed."The explosives quantity is estimated to be about 2 kilograms which created a crater 2 feet wide and one feet deep. It is deduced that most of the casualties have been caused by the blasts (not by shrapnels)," Special Secretary (Internal Security) UK Bansal in MHA, UK Bansal told reporters.
Bansal said that preliminary probe suggests the possible use of nitrate-based explosives laced with Pentaerythritol Trinitrate (PETN). PETN is a chemical explosive with a long history of being used by the terrorists.
When quizzed by reporters whether it was an intelligence failure, Bansal said, “There was no specific intelligence input regarding today’s blast but this aspect will certainly be probed by investigating agencies.”
An emergency meeting was convened by Union Home Secretary RK Singh at the Home Ministry to take stock of the situation.
“It would be too early to say anything as to who is behind the blast as all important cites are generally on terror hit list,” Bansal said, adding, “An alert has been sounded in the entire city.”
It was for the second time in less than four months that the Delhi High Court in the heart of the Capital was targeted. On May 25, a blast had ripped through the parking lot of the High Court. The police are yet to crack the case. No one was injured in the previous explosion on May 25.
The Delhi High Court blast was yet another major terror attack that struck the Capital after a gap of three years. The previous major terror attack in the Capital was on September 13, 2008 when a series of five synchronised bomb blasts took place within a span of few minutes at various locations in Delhi. 30 people were killed and over 100 injured in this strike.
Compensation announced for victims
Centre and Delhi Government announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh and Rs 2 lakh respectively to the next of the kin of those killed in the blast.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of those killed and Rs one lakh to the injured in the blast.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, after visiting the injured in the RML hospital, announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of those killed in the blast while those permanently incapacitated will get Rs 2 lakh.
Dikshit said those seriously injured in the blast will get Rs one lakh while in case of any death of minor, the family will get Rs 1.5 lakh.
People who received minor injuries in the blast will be given Rs 10,000.