The Chabad House and the Osho Ashram at Koregaon Park are barely 500 metres away from the German Bakery. For several people staying in the ashram and many foreigners visiting the Chabad House and staying in the locality nearby, it has been a favourite haunt.
It was also, according to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, a “soft target,” while the other two places were “hard targets” under the radar of terrorists — they were also surveyed by suspected LeT operative David Headley in 2008-2009.
Osho Ashram, one of those “hard targets,” turned into a veritable fortress on Sunday, a day after a bomb ripped through the bakery, killing nine. Police commandos were deployed at the main gate of the Ashram, hugely popular with foreigners ever since it came up in 1974.
Police barred visitors from entering the complex. While the bomb site was sealed off by the local police, the Riot Control Police and Maharashtra State Reserve Police, no traffic was allowed on the road on which the bakery is located.
Inside the 40-acre ashram —founded by godman Osho Rajneesh — activity was going on as usual when the blast happened. Nearly 2,000 visitors — mostly foreigners and some Indians — were present.
“We are not afraid, though we are shocked by the tragic incident. Security at the Ashram has now been beefed up,” said Daurren, a foreigner staying there.
The Chabad House, which members of the Jewish community regularly visit, is situated on the North-Main Road in Koregaon Park.
Members of the community were in the middle of prayers on Saturday evening when they heard a loud explosion.
“I am upset about what happened, but not afraid. We are grateful to Indian authorities for the round-the-clock security at Chabad,” said Rabbi Betzalel Kupchik.
(With inputs from agencies)