people in three explosions which rocked crowded marketplaces across the country’s capital New Delhi.
Christians were believed to be among the casualties amid reports that the death toll may have risen to 65. The Indian government blamed Saturday’s coordinated blasts at the Paharganj, Govindpuri and Sarojini Nagar areas of New Delhi on "terrorists", but no group claimed immediately responsibility for the attacks.
Eyewitnesses said the blasts left men, women and children with burns, bruises and broken limbs as they tried to escape. Many were rushed to several government hospitals.
In remarks obtained by the BosNewsLife New Delhi Bureau, CBCI Spokesman Fr. Babu Joseph told reporters that it was "very sad and tragic that several people have died in the bomb blasts." He said the CBCI "disapproves in [the] strongest terms any attempts to destroy social amity and peace in the country."
He said the bomb blasts came as the nation was getting ready to celebrate the main Hindu festival of Diwali and the Muslim festival of Eid. "We appeal to all to desist from carrying out anti-human, anti-national activities so that Indians together celebrate these festivals in a spirit of joy, happiness and harmony," he added.
It was unclear whether the CBCI statement would help to ease tensions between Christians and Hindu militant groups, who have accused churches and missionaries of "conversions." Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a statement from Kolkata said the blasts were a clear case of terrorism. However "No terrorist can win against India. India will win the battle against terrorism," the Prime Minister said in a statement.
The Indian government has been battling militant groups, including organizations fighting for independence in Kashmir, the disputed territory between India and nuclear rival Pakistan. Both countries began unprecedented talks on opening their heavily defended Kashmir frontier to bring food, shelter and medical aid to victims of the Himalayan region’s massive earthquake.
DAY OF DISASTERS
The blasts ended a day of disasters for the country, as earlier on Saturday, October 29, a passenger train plunged into a rain-swollen river in southern India killing at least 77 people and trapping dozens more inside the derailed cars, officials said. About 100 injured passengers were reportedly rescued from the coaches, which derailed after floods washed away the tracks in the town of Veligonda in Andhra Pradesh state.
These incidents were expected to put additional strain on aid groups, including Christian organizations such as Gospel For Asia which claims its native missionaries are currently involved in relief efforts in India and neighboring Pakistan following the recent massive earth quake in the region. Christian Aid Mission (CAM, said its native missionaries were also struggling to cope with the situation.
"Many in the international community have turned their attention away from this disaster, even though some observers have said that the fallout from it could rival that of the tsunami," CAM said in a message to BosNewsLife.
That October 8 quake is believed to have killed nearly 80,000 people and left more than 3 million homeless Indian media said militant group Lakshar-e-Toiba was being suspected of being behind the New Delhi blasts, just weeks after several of its members were reportedly killed in the quake this month.
Following the explosions in New Delhi, security was also beefed up in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital which was formerly known as Bombay, police officials said. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos at BosNewsLife News Center).