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Cops yet to make any real breakthrough

THE Varanasi police are yet to make any major breakthrough in the explosions that rocked the temple town on Tuesday. Except for the sketches released by Varanasi SSP Navneet Sikera, there was ?so far no substantial progress? in the case, senior police officers monitoring the development here said. As the Varanasi blasts bear some striking similarities with Delhi explosions in October last year, Lashkar-e-Toiba?s hand is being seen in the incident.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 01:34 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
None

THE Varanasi police are yet to make any major breakthrough in the explosions that rocked the temple town on Tuesday.

Except for the sketches released by Varanasi SSP Navneet Sikera, there was ‘so far no substantial progress’ in the case, senior police officers monitoring the development here said. As the Varanasi blasts bear some striking similarities with Delhi explosions in October last year, Lashkar-e-Toiba’s hand is being seen in the incident.

Sources said except for getting the address of the shopkeeper from where four pressure cookers were purchased to prepare the explosive device, there was no other lead in the case. The officers, who had visited the spot after the blasts, said there was no ‘trace of RDX’, as was being projected by the Varanasi police.

The officers said ammonium nitrate appeared to be the main ingredient in the device which was easily available in local market. However, he said it was quite powerful as the tree, under which it was planted at the Sankant Mochan temple, was badly damaged.

In view of rush of VVIPs to the temple town, proper investigation could not begin even after 24 hours of the explosions. “The officers started paying attention to probe from Wednesday evening,” said an officer. The police have also started concentrating on any ‘local connection’. But so far, there was no lead in the direction. While the central Intelligence agencies have been investigating the matter independently, the state government has entrusted the task to the STF which had probed July 5 Ayodhya assault. In Ayodhya, the STF had unearthed terrorists’ connection with some people in Akbarpur where they (the terrorists) had stayed for nearly two months before launching attack.

The central intelligence agencies, in their regular inputs to the state government, had provided information about ‘Varanasi being high on the agenda of terrorists’. Though the inputs had not ‘pin-pointed’ Sankat Mochan temple, the agency, in its communication, said apart from Gyanvyapi Temple, other religious places could also be targeted. While causing major death and destruction, the terrorists have also succeeded in badly hitting tourism-based industry in the city. The people are quite apprehensive about the future of city’s traditional Sari and tourism industry. There was virtual exodus of tourists from the city after the Tuesday’s blasts, as the hotels registered sharp decline in occupancy.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 01:34 IST