Agence India Press
New Delhi: An explosion has been reported outside Delhi High Court’s Gate number 5 at 10:15AM. Reports confirm 65 people have been wounded while 10 have succumbed to their injuries.
The blast took place in a high security area with Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and India Gate in the vicinity. All the metros have been put on high alert.
The explosive device was suspected to keep in a briefcase outside the High Court compound between Gate No. 4 and 5 and went off at around 10.15 AM when 100 to 200 litigants were waiting to get passes to enter the premises. Some lawyers were also present at that time.
After the bomb blast, panic-stricken people ran helter-skelter as it was chaos at the High Court premises.
Eyewitnesses told Agence India Press that, many persons were injured in the explosion, which occurred at around 10:15 AM and some of them may be in a critical condition. Delhi Special Commissioner Dharmendra Kumar confirmed that over 65 people have been injured.
Internal security secretary said that the investigations are on.
Union Home Secretary RK Singh said that the blast, which was of “medium to high intensity”, took place between Gate Nos. 4 and 5 near the reception counter where passes are made for the litigants.
UK Bansal, Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that the explosive device was kept in a briefcase. He said that the blast was well planned, of high intensity and created a crater near the counter.
There were no CCTV cameras installed at the gate near the blast spot while the scanners, too, were not working.
The injured were taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and Lok Nayak Jay Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital with some of them reportedly in a critical condition.
National Security Guard (NSG) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) teams have also reached the blast site. NSG Director General Rajen Medhekar said that ammonium nitrate has been used in the blast.
“Whatever we could gather from the blast investigations is that it is an IED (improvised explosive device) with ammonium nitrate. We are working with the Delhi Police to get details,” said Medhekar.
The Delhi Police said that Gate No. 5 is one of the busiest areas of the Delhi High Court and have cordoned off the area.
Forensic experts have collected the evidence to find out the nature of the blast. The report is expected to be ready by Wednesday evening.
The Delhi government announced that Rs 4 lakh would be given as compensation for families who have lost adult members and Rs 1.5 lakh to families who have lost minors. The seriously injured will get Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 will be given to those who sustained minor injuries. Those permanently incapacitated in the blast will get Rs 2 lakh.
Court business is usually heavy on Wednesday which is listed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) day when the visitors come to the court in large numbers.
This is the worst terror attack in the capital since the triple blasts on September 13, 2008 in which 25 people were killed. On September 13, 2008 serials blasts had rocked Karol Bagh, Connaught Place and Greater Kailash in the capital in which over 150 people were injured.
Meanwhile government is investigating an email allegedly sent by the Pakistan-based terrorist group Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HuJI) claiming responsibility for the blast at the Delhi high court that killed at least 10 people and injured 65 others on Wednesday, a senior security official said.
HuJI, in an email sent to the media, wrote, “We own the responsibility for today’s blasts at Delhi high court. Our demand is that Mohammed Afzal Guru’s death sentence should be repealed immediately else we would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India.”
National Investigation Agency chief SC Sinha told reporters it was premature to comment on the veracity of the HuJI email. He, however, added that he was taking the contents of the email seriously as HuJI is a major terror outfit.
Afzal Guru was given the death sentence by the Supreme Court in 2004 for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001. (AIP)