It was like any other day at the three district courts in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi on Friday. That was till 1.10 p.m. The next 20 minutes were devastating as six blasts rocked the courts.
Lucknow, one blast
At 1.10 pm, there was a loud explosion near the public lavatory of the district court. Lawyers, litigants and court staff rushed to the spot to find pellets strewn near a bicycle blown to bits. A black bag was lying nearby. Fortunately, the bomb was of low intensity and no one was injured.
Senior police officers, including DGP Vikram Singh, rushed to the spot but were forced to leave in the face of angry lawyers blocking their way. “I was talking to my client when a bomb exploded and for a few seconds, I was unable to think what had happened. It took me minutes to realise it was a bomb blast,” said a lawyer.
Panic spread again after a bomb disposal squad with sniffer dogs discovered an undetonated high-intensity bomb and started defusing it.
Faizabad, 2 blasts
Amid the hustle and bustle in the court premises, a bomb went off at 1.10 p.m. near a lawyer’s chamber. Everyone started running in various directions. Luckily, this explosion too was of low intensity. There were no casualties. This bomb too was packed in a bag placed on a bicycle.
“When I entered the court premises on my motorcycle, I heard a loud sound. I did not understand what it was. Then I saw steel pellets scattered,” a visitor said.
Five minutes later, the second blast took place near another lawyer’s makeshift tin chamber. The shed was shattered and thick smoke engulfed the area. Many people lay injured on the ground, crying for help. District Magistrate Amod Kumar rushed to the spot but again, angry lawyers blocked his way. Three dead bodies were identified and one more died in the district hospital.
Varanasi, three blasts
Three blasts rocked the district court premises within a span of five minutes, the first at 1.20 p.m. and the other two in the next 10 minutes. Pandemonium reigned after the deafening sound of the first blast. Soon, another bomb exploded 200 metres from the site of the first. The victims were immediately rushed to the hospitals.
“We could not understand what to do and I ran for cover,” eyewitness Chander Bhushan Giri said. District administration officials later confirmed 11 deaths. They said 65 injured were undergoing treatment in various hospitals.