3 New Delhi Explosions Kill at Least 49
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Oct 29, 11:15 AM (ET)
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG
(AP) People stand around damaged buildings at the site of an explosion in New Delhi, India, Saturday,...
NEW DELHI (AP) - A series of explosions shook New Delhi on Saturday, tearing through markets jammed with shoppers ahead of an upcoming Hindu festival and killing at least 49 people, officials said.
The initial blast took place in the evening in the main Paharganj market, when it was crowded with shoppers ahead of a major Hindu festival next week, fire officials said. All roads to the scene of the explosion were sealed off by authorities.
Minutes later, two more blasts shook the city.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged people to remain calm and said in a statement that "India will win the battle against terrorism." The statement was read on CNN by one of his top advisers, Sanjaya Baru, who said the explosions were the work of terrorists, but did not say who the government thought was behind them.
(AP) An injured boy cries outside an emergency ward of a hospital in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct....
Home Minister Shivraj Patil said 39 people were killed in a blast in the Sarojini Nagar market. Jagtar Singh, a spokesman for the Delhi fire department said seven people were killed in the first blast, in the crowded central neighborhood of Paharganj and three were killed in a bus in the Govindpuri neighborhood. He had no further details.
Witnesses said the blasts shook their neighborhoods.
"The blast was so powerful, my house shook," said Kiran Mohan, a photo editor who lives about 200 yards away from the Sarojini Nagar market.
At least 60 people were injured in that explosion, according to a policeman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, with dozens more thought to have been hurt in the others.
While the Indian government faces opposition from dozens of militant organizations - from tiny fringe organizations to well-armed Kashmiri rebel groups - there was no immediate official word that the explosions had been caused by bombs.
The explosions occurred as Indian and Pakistani officials began talks in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday on an unprecedented opening of the territory's disputed frontier to help victims of the massive Oct. 8 earthquake believed to have killed about 80,000 people.
Foreign Ministry officials were discussing whether to let Kashmiris cross the heavily militarized Line of Control, the cease-fire line that divides the Himalayan region over which the South Asian rivals have fought two wars.
In addition, fireworks are widely used to celebrate the upcoming Hindu festival, Diwali, and many markets are now crowded with stalls selling elaborate - and often very dangerous - fireworks.