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Peace returns to Jama Masjid

Large number of policemen are on vigil around the historic mosque, checking visitors and bags carried by people.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 12:19 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Jama Masjid returned to its routine on Saturday after a day of panic sparked by twin bomb blasts that injured a dozen people but caused no damage to the mammoth 17th century structure.

An estimated 250 people attended the day's first prayers early in the morning, a spokesman for the red stone mosque.

A large number of policemen kept vigil around the historic mosque on Saturday, checking visitors and bags carried by people.

"There is absolutely no tension, everything is fine, everything is normal," spokesman Amanulla Khan said. "You can say we are back to our normal routine."

Asked whom the Jama Masjid officials suspected for the blasts that took place within a space of 15 minutes, Khan, speaking on behalf of Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari, said: "That is not for us to say. The police are on their job. We are sure they will find out."

The Bukharis have been the custodians of the mosque -- which can hold tens of thousands of people at any given time -- since the shrine was built.

The first blast occurred at 5.20 pm on Friday during prayer time and the second followed shortly thereafter.

Among the injured were a woman and a child. Most people were treated for minor injuries.

But the incident did create panic in the mosque and the congested area all around it, drawing thousands of people.

Police moved in hurriedly to begin investigations.

The authorities as well as Shahi Imam Bukhari immediately appealed for calm.

President APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reacted quickly with denunciations of the bomb attack.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited the mosque around 10 pm on Friday and spent 15 to 20 minutes at the site meeting Shahi Imam Bukhari, the spokesman said.

Police said the explosives used Friday were of a nature that would not kill or cause any major damage. Police are working on various theories.

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 10:08 IST