New Delhi: Gujarat continues to remain tense a day after 18 bombs were defused in Surat and despite massive combing operations, another bomb was found and defused in the city on Wednesday morning.
The 19th bomb was found at Prestige Market during the search operations. The bomb was similar to those found on Tuesday. However, it's still not clear whether the bombs were planted just to terrorise the Rs 70,000-crore diamond cutting and polishing industry or to create a diversionary tactic.
Security personnel could be seen combing the length and breadth of Surat on Wednesday for unclaimed packages in green plastic that roused suspicion. The services of 3,000 sweepers of the Surat Municipal Corporation were also enlisted in the combing operation.
Meanwhile, initial investigations reveal that the 19 bombs defused in Surat used integrated chips, similar to the ones used in the Bangalore serial blasts. The terror trail also indicates a large-scale conspiracy.
Investigators are probing possible connections with the neighbouring city of Vadodara where the terror plots to bomb Ahmedabad and Surat are believed to have been hatched. Three WagonRs laden with explosives, connected to the blasts, are also being used as vital clues to piece together the puzzle.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who visited Surat on Wednesday, said there's a clear pattern behind the blasts in Ahmedabad and in other cities across India. He declared a reward of Rs 51 lakh for anyone who could provide information on the terror network. He also described the attacks as a proxy war on the country.
But a day after 18 live bombs were found in the city, Surat is clearly a ghost town. Schools, colleges, malls and theatres are shut. Most streets and parks were also empty as people preferred to stay indoors.
Police are also questioning some inmates of the Central Jail in Ahmedabad following leads that Rasool Patti, a Pakistan-based associate of underworld don Abdul Latif, could be behind the blasts.
However, there are many unanswered questions like:
- Were the bombs planted as a diversionary tactic or merely to create panic?
- Why were the bombs placed on treetops and behind hoardings?
- Was the conspiracy to carry out blasts in Ahmedabad hatched in Mumbai or Vadodara?
THE SURAT-BANGALORE LINK
Police say that integrated chips were used in the 19 bombs found in Surat. Earlier, police in Bangalore, too, had reported the use of embedded chips as timer devices in the bombs.
|This is the first time such timers are being used as trigger devices. The explosives found in Bangalore and Surat have other similarities as well.|
|They all used concentrated ammonium nitrate, batteries as well as nuts and bolts to maximise damage. This shows a level of sophistication and coordination not seen among terrorists in the past.|
|It also indicates that a very large group was involved in the bombings.|