Curfew in Indian city of Jaipur a day after blasts


Authorities imposed a dawn to-dusk curfew in parts of India's historic western city of Jaipur on Wednesday, a day after eight bombs ripped through bustling streets, killing around 60 people and injuring 150.

The blasts within minutes of each other brought fears that Pakistani or Bangladeshi Islamist militant groups were trying to undermine a fragile peace process between India and Pakistan. But police have not yet blamed any particular group.

Bombs, many strapped to bicycles, exploded by a main temple and markets inside the pink-walled city. Slippers, broken pieces of glass and bits of clothes now litter the main market place.

The bustling walled city's main courtyard was mostly deserted with a few people coming back to take personal belongings out of damaged cars and motorbikes left behind after the bombs.

Hundreds of policemen looked for unclaimed objects in the rubble, while many people in Jaipur preferred to stay indoors.

"It was very scary and most of us just ran as there was smoke and cries for help in every direction," said Anil Saxena, a businessman at a popular jewellery market.

Authorities cleaned a blood-splattered street in front of Hawa Mahal, or the "palace of wind," a five-storied sandstone building built by a Hindu king for his queen in 1799 AD.

Many Hindus offer prayers in temples on Tuesdays and officials say that was probably what attackers were looking for.

"There were hundreds of people there like me to offer prayers. I wonder what would have happened had the blast taken place inside the temple," Vikram Singh, an injured college student, said from his hospital bed.

India's junior home minister Sriprakash Jaiswal was quoted by local media as saying there "might be the involvement of some foreign hand in the blasts" - a phrase often used in India to refer to Pakistan.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee is due to visit Islamabad in a week's time to review a four-year-old peace process between the two nations.

Only in the last week, Indian soldiers came under heavy cross-border fire trying to stop armed men from sneaking into its part of Kashmir. Later eight people were killed in clashes in a Kashmir village. It was some of the worse violence in Kashmir this year.

But police in Jaipur said they did not know who was behind Tuesday's bombings.

"It is too early to name one particular group and we are analyzing the material used to cause the blast to determine what it exactly contained," A.S. Gill, Rajasthan's police chief said.

Authorities said they do not have information about any foreigners injured in the blast. It is low season in the tourist state of Rajasthan.




On Wednesday, hundreds of volunteers queued up in hospitals to donate blood for survivors.

Inside Jaipur's main hospital, women and children writhed in pain as doctors bandaged their head or badly injured arms.

Others thronged the mortuary at the back of the hospital to try and get bodies of their relatives out as quickly as possible.

"This is an endless wait, I don't know when I can get my brother's body out of here," Rakesh Sharma, a businessman said.

In the past few years, bomb blasts in Indian cities have killed hundreds of people. The deadliest was in July 2006, when seven bombs exploded on Mumbai's railway system killing more than 180 people.

Last August, three bombs killed 38 people at an amusement park and a street-side food stall in Hyderabad, a city in southern India which is home to a booming outsourcing industry.