India on alert after Varanasi blast

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 22:43

New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry has
sounded a nationwide alert with special stress on four major
cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - in wake of
the blast in Varanasi.

"A general alert has been sent to all state
governments and they have been asked to stay on high alert,"
Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said here.

"It was low intensity blast which occurred at about
6.20 pm in which three-four people were injured. Subsequently
we understand there could have been a stampede...as a result
15-20 people were injured. So roughly 20-25 people injured,"
he said.

According to Home Ministry sources, alerts have been
issued to the four metropolis - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - in particular.

They said a high-level team of the National
Investigation Agency is also likely to visit the holy town.

Secretary for Internal Security at MHA, U K Bansal
said, "We had alerted Uttar Pradesh Police sometime back. I am
sure the UP police will take it as a challenge. There is no
reason for panic."

Kolkata Police tonight issued an
alert and stepped up security in the metropolis in the wake of
the blast in Varanasi.

"Even though there is no instruction from the Union Home
Ministry, we have put our forces on alert," Kolkata Police
Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty said.

Security agencies stepped up vigil in the national capital as well. According to police sources, the anti-terror measures
were activated soon after the explosion at Sheetla Ghat in
Varanasi.

"We have alerted our personnel. We have stepped up
vigil. Anyway, our personnel are always on alert," a senior
police official said.

The official said police will be checking vehicles
randomly. "We are appealing to people to report to us about
any suspicious movement in their localities," he said

An alert has been declared in
Gujarat as well. All security agencies in the state have been alerted
and security heightened in all sensitive parts of the state,
Additional Director
General of Police (Law and Order) Sudhir Sinha said.

-PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 22:43

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