The aftermath of the bombing of a city bus in Ahmedabad. Photo by the Times of India.
Terrorists have struck inside a major Indian city for the second day straight. At least 26 Indians were killed and more than 100 wounded in a series of bomb blasts in the city of Ahmedabad.
Sixteen blasts took place at 13 different sites throughout Ahmedabad in the span of 90 minutes, The Times of India reported, causing chaos in the city. Bombs were planted at two hospitals, in a theater, and on a bus and other vehicles.
The string of deadly bombings in Ahmedabad comes just one day after an identical attack occurred in the city of Bangalore. Six people were killed and more than 20 wounded after thirteen bombs were detonated nearly simultaneously throughout the city.
Police said that yesterday’s smaller bombs were assembled by professional bomb makers who used timing devices set to detonate within 15 minutes of each other. During a follow-up investigation, police found a large, undetonated bomb at a mall in Bangalore.
A group called the Indian Mujahideen took credit for the attacks in Bangalore, but no group has taken credit for the Ahmedabad attacks at this time. The mode of attacks makes it certain the same group conducted both strikes.
The Indian Mujahideen took credit for the May bombings in Jaipur and said the attacks were intended to disrupt the tourist economy. The group sent videos to the media using an e-mail address that is nearly identical to the one used to announce the attacks in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007. The Jaipur blasts killed more than 60 and wounded more than 200, while the Uttar Pradesh attacks killed 14 and wounded more than 50.
But India’s Intelligence Bureau denies that the Indian Mujahideen exists. Instead the Bureau claims the terror group is a creation of the Bangladesh-based Harkat ul Jihad al Islami, or HuJI-B, an al Qaeda affiliate. HuJI-B created the Indian Mujahideen to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, which provides logistics for the attacks.
India officials said the HuJI-B and SIMI were behind the Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh bombings, and some officials believe the Pakistani-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group assisted in the attacks.
The Bangladeshi branch of HuJI, was established in 1992 “with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front,” according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
“HuJI aims to establish Islamic Hukumat (rule) in Bangladesh by waging war and killing progressive intellectuals,” the South Asia Terrorism Portal stated. “It draws inspiration from bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. At one point of time, the groups issued a slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan).”
HuJI-B fighters are recruited from madrassa, or religious schools, in Bangladesh and are trained in al Qaeda and Taliban camps Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Bangladeshi terror group plays a crucial role in training jihadists “from southern Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Brunei” and providing manpower for al Qaeda’s affiliates in Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Chechnya.
India security forces have conducted many high-profile arrests of the leadership of the Students Islamic Movement of India over the past year, which until recently put a dent in the terror group’s operations. But police and intelligence officials believe the Ahmedabad and Bangalore attack show the movement has regenerated its leadership.
• Serial blasts in Ahmedabad – The Times of India
• 16 blasts rock Ahmedabad – DNA India
• 60 killed, 200 wounded in multiple bombings in India – The Long War Journal
• Undetonated Powerful Bomb Found at Bangalore Shopping Mall – Voice of America
• Embedded chips used as trigger in Bangalore blasts – The Hindu
• Bombings focus attention on SIMI networks – The Hindu
• ‘There is no outfit called Indian Mujahideen’ – Rediff
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As an Indian, it is sad to see how terror can strike so easily and how nonchalant we are as a nation to terrorism. This is just another terrorist incident to most people in India – we have had similar terror strikes in Bombay, Delhi, Jaipur , Hyderabad and so many other places that my mind has become too numb to remember. Bangalore and Ahmedabad have now joined the list.
The usual charade follows – The Indian Government condemns these remarks in strong terms, vows “not to bow to terrorism”, vows to find the terrorists and bring them to “justice”. Of course nothing of that sort happens, but , hey, you need to say stuff.
A week from now, no one ( with the exception of the families and friends of those injured) in either of the two cities that got bombed will even remember/ care about what happened and life will go on as usual.
I guess this is another way to “confront” terrorism – not confronting it at all by pretending that it does not really exist in the first place.
In a country of a billion people, what’s the big deal in losing a few hundreds to terrorism now and then?
The Indians dont seem particularly perturbed by this kind of thing; after all terrorism kills so few people in India compared with poverty, disease, accidents and inhumanity that ignoring it probably maks a lot of sense…. it has no impact on the economy or national morale; it must be galling and frustrating for terrorists to commit what any other nation would call mass murder and be treated as less than an insect bite. What good is terrorism if it cannot terrorize or worse be treated as as a non event?
NS, interesting perspective. I would think that at some point the Hindus of India would go Mongol (couldn’t think of another similar reference) on the terrorists in India. I know that this would unfairly impact a lot of the peaceful muslims in the country, but until they control their own, they are going to have to bear some of the responsibility. Maybe that breaking point has not been reached. Perhaps there is a greater focus on the economy and each person’s financial circumstances. But at some point, should this continue, you would have to think that the Hindu an Sikh populations are going to react and do so very violently.
Some of us in the US may not be that far removed from the effects of this terrorism. These attacks potentially can disrupt the technology sector here in the US as Bangalore is a major center for us – I guess I will have a better idea come Monday… I suppose we (especially India) have to expect more since Pakistan is allowing Terror Inc. to metastasize in their back yard.
I am trying to respond to some of the comments here -thanks for your response, btw –
first, Libertarian. Yes poverty, disease does take a lot more lives than terrorism – but please dont make the mistake of thinking that people dont care about it – we just have become too numb and helpless about it. GOI is so feckless about dealing with terrorism because it knows that it wont face any negative electoral consequences for doing nothing – and i was expressing my frustrations about it.
Remoteman, these terrorist bombings are triggered hoping for EXACTLY what you were saying is going to happen – namely outright conflict between Hindus and Muslims – this has now been tried a number of times – way too often to count or remember- and yet it has not achieved its hoped for effect – it may have caused riots in the past – but people ultimately come to their senses after the blood letting.
India had a very very painful Partition – it permanently scarred the nation and its ties with Pakistan – it also created a resolve never to let this happen again – a resolve that keeps getting tested time and again- but fortunately it has not become the conflagration that terrorists would so desperately like to see – in a way Iraq reminded me a lot of India – and just as fortunately the Iraqi nation survived.
Pakistani, I dont know what to tell you. You people elected your Govt after complaining about Musharaff a lot – now you all seem to be silent when the Govt is busy signing surrender deals – why not go out and protest against the Govt for this ? – i saw a lot more protesting against Musharaff, but the public has been mute about what has been going on with the Taliban.
In the end, you have to raise your voices against the Govt if you dont like its policies – how ever insignificant you think it may be. There is nothing worse than staying silent on the sidelines when it comes to terrorism. You only end up enabling it, unintentional as it may be.
It looks like “Terror Inc.” is alive and well in Pakistan. Those 2 faced swine got us for Billions, while thier ISI, and Army Corps commanders aided and let the islamic radicals run wild. Remember, the T-ban is P-stans creation, and the ISI is heavily involved with them. Pakistan is on its way to becoming an islamic state-with nuclear weapons. Soon, we may be bombing THEM. Why do we sell them Block 50 F-16’s when they have laid down like dogs to the T-ban/AQ? If India crossed thier border tommorow, with tanks, troops and warplanes, I would say they had it coming.
NS, we do sympathise with individuals and families who are murdered by terrorists and their lives are as valuable as ours; that is not the point I was addressing;
It seems to me that as the Russians used to trade land for time as a deliberate strategy, so the Indian Govt. is trading bodies for time as a strategy; time is not on the side of the Islamic terrorists as they are slowly squeezed into Pakistan(their true homeland) from all across the Islamic crescent , while time is definitely on India’s side. Each year, India becomes stronger economically and militarily and its population increases by a staggering 30million people. There seem to be several terrorist groups operating in India, both foreign(i.e Pakistani) and domestic(e.g Communists) and no doubt India suffers thousands of casualties per year. But has that now been the case for decades and yet India continues to grow and become more powerful and more globally important. India may be the only country in the world that can actually afford the strategy of ignoring and outwaiting the terrorists.After decades what specifically have the terrorists achieved in India?
Thank you for the explanation – i quite could not see it in the first post of yours, but i can now see where you are coming from.
That being said, i dont think India can continue to tread this path of taking these hits, or trading “bodies for time” as you put it. There needs to be a clear and unequivocal ZERO TOLERANCE for terrorism policy. Currently we dont have one.
Also if you have noticed a pattern, these attacks are targeted in cities that have bustling economies – Bangalore is the IT capital of India and Ahmedabad is a city well known for its wealth and trading powers. Terror attacks at such places can create a sense of insecurity and deter investment, domestic and foreign. No one wants to open a business in a place where they fear they could get their heads blown off.
So there is an economic angle that the terrorists are targeting – they know what they are doing. These targets that they choose have strategic importance to the Indian economy.
I dont know whats going to happen next – but i am not holding my breath on GOI significantly shoring up its anti terror policies – assuming these policies exist in the first place.
A somber update – the death toll in the Ahmedabad terror attacks has now risen to 45.
Meanwhile in Surat, a city in the same state as Ahmedabad (Gujarat) two cars with stuffed explosives found – //www.indianexpress.com/story/341098.html
I dont know much about MQM – PPP and PML are the two main parties that i know of.
If MQM is truly anti -jihadi as you claim, i hope it grows more – PPP seems to be too dominated by Zardari and is treated as such as Bhutto family property – but this is unfortunately common to South Asian politics.