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Anger high after Masjid blasts

Even as the Shahi Imam appealed for peace, many expressed their anger on the twin blasts that hit Jama Masjid.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 10:08 IST

As the twin blasts set off utter chaos and a near-stampede situation in the historic Jama Masjid complex in New Delhi on Friday, what emerged unmistakably from the incidents were bewilderment and anger against the perpetrators of the attack.

Angry devotees inside the mosque and others, who rushed to the spot from nearby areas shouted 'Allah Ho Akbar' (God is Great) as they sought vengeance against perpetrators of the blasts at the 17th century monument.

Though Delhi Police Commissioner KK Paul and Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari appealed to the devotees through public address system to maintain calm, many expressed their anger saying they cannot accept such an attack on a religious place.

"Government must find out the culprits who were behind the explosions very soon. It would help to maintain peace and harmony in the society," Wasim Khan, a local businessman, said.

Anger set in after a brief spell of bewilderment after the explosions.

"How can such a thing take place inside a place of worship"? was the common refrain among the people on the spot.

"I was offering the Namaz when a big sound rocked the whole Jama Masjid. When I turned around, I saw a thick cloud of smoke near the pond. I rushed to the spot and saw six people rushing towards us screaming, all with injuries on their bodies," Mohamad Adil, an eye witness, said.

"Even as we were preparing to send them to hospital, another explosion took place just near the first explosion," he said.

After the explosion, it was total chaos with limited presence of security personnel.

As people living in nearby areas came in large number to the spot, a near-stampede situation prevailed inside the mosque as some volunteers and police tried to restrict the movement of visitors by closing the four main gates of Jama Masjid.

Most of the shops adjoining the Masjid complex immediately downed their shutters while about a thousand local residents demonstrated demanding protection to the masjid and immediate arrest of culprits involved in the blasts.

"It is a shame that the police has not been able to protect even the religious places. Jama Masjid is very close to our heart. Even if some more explosions take place in future, no one can stop us from offering Namaz here," Hafez Ahmed, a local resident, said.

However, soon a large police force was deployed around the Jama Masjid complex and the devotees offered Namaz once again within an hour.

Police restricted movement of vehicles in the roads leading to the Masjid complex due to security reasons, an action criticised by people living in the area.

"I had to park my vehicle near Raj Ghat, about two km away, and forced to walk since police are not allowing entry of any vehicle towards Jama Masjid," Farhan Hussain, a resident of the area, complained.

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, who also visited the spot, stressed the need for maintaining peace and assured the Shahi Imam all help from the administration.