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Threats and Terror in Delhi jeopardize Indian Commonwealth Games

September 21, 2010

NEW DELHI: Raising security concerns ahead of the Commonwealth Games, two men on a motorbike fired several rounds on a tourist vehicle near the historic Jama Masjid in the walled city, injuring two Taiwanese nationals.

A red alert has been sounded across the capital after the incident in which the two bikers are said to have fired 7-8 rounds on the stationary vehicle adjacent to gate number three of the mosque and 100 metres away from the house of Shahi Imam Ahmed Bukhari at around 11.30 am.

The two injured, who are from Taiwan, were taken to nearby government Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital in the same bus. Their condition is stated to be stable. One of them was injured when a bullet grazed his head while another was hit in the abdomen and is being operated, LNJP Hospital Medical Superintendent Amit Banerjee said.

Delhi Police Joint Commissioner Karnail Singh told reporters that the four cartridges recovered from the spot showed that the weapon used could be .38 calibre revolver.

But the rounds of fire recovered were also of 9 mm, which can be used in pistol or carbine, he said refusing to hazard a guess on the motive of the attackers. “We are looking into all angles and we cannot jump to conclusions,” he said.

“A red alert has been sounded and we are conducting checks at various points. We are confident of nabbing the culprits soon,” the Joint CP said. He said the area constable tried to give a chase to the attackers but they fled on their motorcycle.

Meanwhile, a blue Maruti 800 car caught fire near the Jama Masjid area, just hours after the firing incident, causing panic in the area. The flames were doused by the locals and fire tenders from the Delhi Fire Service. Police are not ruling out the connection between the two incidents. A team of experts are investigating the cause of the fire and the possibility of explosives in the pressure cookers said to have been found inside the car.

Police have identified a man called Bobby Sharma as the owner of the car. The owner, however, said that he had no idea how his vehicle was found near the Jama Masjid area as he had parked it somewhere else.

Police have also not taken any chances of the presence of explosives in vehicles parked outside the Jama Masjid police station. A bomb disposal squad has been sent to check the vehicles in the area.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the incident is sad and worrying but said there was nothing to panic. “I am in constant touch with the Police Commissioner. The police are investigating into the incident and culprits will be caught. Everything is under control.” She said there is nothing to worry about healthwise in the case of the two injured.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Mujahideen threatened to unleash violence during the Commonwealth Games in a statement issued on Sunday soon after a terror attack at the Jama Masjid injured two foreigners.

While making no reference to the Jama Masjid shooting by two men on a motorcycle who escaped, a statement by the outlawed group denounced the killings of civilians in the Kashmir Valley and pledged to hit at the Commonwealth Games starting here Oct 3.

“On the one hand Muslim blood is flowing like water while on the other hand you are preparing for the festival of games,” said the statement emailed to BBC Hindi service. “We warn you to host the Commonwealth Games.

“We know that preparations for the Games are at its peak; beware, we too are preparing in full swing for a great surprise,” said the statement.

“The participants will be solely responsible for the outcome (of our attacks) as our bands of mujahideen love death more than you love life,” it said.

Indian Mujahideen is believed to be a shadow outfit of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and has also been linked to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

It came into the spotlight Feb 23, 2005 when it carried out a blast in Varanasi. It was also blamed for the September 2008 Delhi serial bombings that killed over two dozen people.

The Indian Mujahideen statement spoke mostly about the Kashmir Valley, where more than 100 civilians have been killed since June 11 in firing by security forces trying to break up mobs.

“Muslim life is cheaper than vegetables in Kashmir,” it said. “The criminal silence of the international community is far more dangerous than the oppression on Kashmiri Muslims.”

The statement made no reference to the Sunday morning shooting near the 16th century Jama Masjid that left two Taiwanese tourists injured. But it vaguely referrd to “this attack” as a revenge for the killing of two its members earlier in Delhi. TOI

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