- Bangladesh - India
Rajasthan’s walled Pink city (Jaipur) has never been on the list of terror targets. The attack has left the city’s residents and authorities in a daze. A curfew has been imposed on the old bustling city as a precautionary measure.
Investigators sifted for clues among mangled bodies and debris at the blast sites. They suspect the bombs were strapped to new bicycles bought in Jaipur itself. “We’ve found a number of clues at the blast site,” Kanhaiya Lal, Jaipur’s Additional Director General of Police, told FRANCE 24. “We’ve questioned a few suspects and have identified the people who sold the bicycles to the attackers.”
Jaipur under curfew
Jaipur police questioned eight people in connection with eight near-simultaneous bomb blasts in Jaipur on Tuesday. A ninth bomb was defused, police authorities said. A man injured in one of the blasts and a rickshaw-puller is among those picked up for questioning.
The bombs exploded near Jaipur’s main temple and in thickly populated residential areas - and in markets, which are the city’s main tourist attraction. “In India, it’s difficult to supervise crowded areas like markets,” retired Major General Afsar Karim said. “There are no security surveillance cameras and it’s difficult for the police to be present everywhere, watching all the time. These factors make Indian cities a vulnerable target.”
“Foreign elements with internal support”
No group has claimed the attack but investigators and the Indian intelligence agencies suspect a Pakistan or Bangladesh-based terror group’s involvement.
Police in Jaipur mainly suspect the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJi). “Some of the clues indicate links to the Bangladeshi group but nothing is confirmed,” Lal said.
According to officials quoted by the Indian press agency Press Trust of India (PTI), HuJi has managed to establish a strong base in the western state of Rajasthan. The terror group was held responsible for attacks on a military base in the Indian city of Rampur in January 2008.
HuJi is also blamed for the terror strike on a Sufi shrine in another Rajastani city of Ajmer in October 2007. The attack killed at least two people and left 17 injured.
Analyst Afsar Karim, meanwhile, says it would be impossible to carry out this attack without internal support: “Investigators can point fingers at Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba or Bangladesh’s HuJi but these foreign groups have established a strong base in India. They target regions or cities where they have people to help them carry out these attacks.”
The intensity of the attacks in Jaipur was similar to the ones in other Indian cities of Hyderabad, Varanasi and Malegaon in the past two years. In 2007, the southern city of Hyderabad was hit twice. In May 2007, a bomb explosion rocked the city’s historic mosque killing 11 worshippers during Friday prayers. The attack sparked violent protests by enraged Muslim residents. Later that year in August, three explosions within minutes at an amusement park and a street-side food stall killed at least 40 people.