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Terror strikes Varanasi

AT LEAST 26 persons were killed and more than 100 critically injured in two powerful blasts that rocked the Sankat Mochan temple and the Cantt Railway station here on Tuesday evening. The injured included four foreigners. The death toll is likely to go up as condition of a large number of the injured was stated to be critical. Two live bombs, one from the Gyanvapi complex and another from a restaurant in the Dashashwamedh area, were also recovered.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 02:33 IST

26 killed, 100 injured in blasts at Sankat Mochan temple & Cantt station

AT LEAST 26 persons were killed and more than 100 critically injured in two powerful blasts that rocked the Sankat Mochan temple and the Cantt Railway station here on Tuesday evening. The injured included four foreigners.

The death toll is likely to go up as condition of a large number of the injured was stated to be critical.

Two live bombs, one from the Gyanvapi complex and another from a restaurant in the Dashashwamedh area, were also recovered. Sources said RDX was used in the two explosions. While the bomb was kept in a box in Sankat Mochan, at the railway station it was planted in the retiring room.

There were large crowds of the devotees at the temple at the time of the explosion. Similarly, there were scores of people waiting at the usually crowded Cantt railway station when the blast took place. According to information, at least 18 people died at three hospitals during treatment. Also, there was complete chaos at the hospitals were injured were rushed for treatment.

In view of prevailing tension, security was beefed up and ban imposed on entry into Kashi Vishwanath temple, the doors of which had been closed.

The blast at the railway station was so powerful that apart from the waiting room, the tourism counter, the ticket widows and the office of the superintendent were completely damaged.

The explosions sent shock waves in the city with people raising slogans against Pakistan, holding it responsible for exportingterrorism to India. Soon shopkeepers downed their shutters in protest. Significantly, the SSP and the SP Varanasi and CO (Sankat Mochan temple) were on leave.

The first incident took place around 6.15 pm when about 3,000 devotees had assembled inside the Sankat Mochan temple close to the Banaras Hindu University. Today being Tuesday, the rush of devotees was pretty heavy. There was commotion everywhere on the temple premises after the blast that occurred within the temple premises. However, all the idols are said to be safe.

The intensity of the blasts was such that the deafening sounds were heard from a distance of miles. The entire Sankat Mochan temple has been cordoned off.

The injured were immediately rushed to nearby BHU hospital and other private hospitals. One person injured in Sankat Mochan blast has been identified as Qamar-u-Din.

Within minutes of the first blast incident, another powerful blast rocked the waiting room of platform number one of the Cantt Railway Station. The blast here occurred at around 6.35 p.m. The Delhi bound Shiv-Ganga Express train leaves the station at seven.

One Uma Shanker, who was injured in Cantt blast, said the impact of the blast was severe.

Dr Sidhartha Roy of Heritage Hospital quoted an injured woman who claimed that she saw her husband’s stomach blown apart at the station. The blast left a big hole in the left leg of another victim Pawan.

The situation in the holy city is said to be tense but under control.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 02:33 IST