Ahmedabad: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday expressed solidarity with the people of Gujarat who have been hit by a series of 16 bomb blasts that ripped across the capital city of Ahmedabad and assured of all Central help to the state government in tracking the perpetrators of this violent act.
The Prime Minister was in Ahmedabad, visiting Civil Hospital, L G Hospital and places where some of the bombs went off that left 45 killed and over 183 injured on Saturday last. He was accompanied by the chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. “We express solidarity to the people of Gujarat in this hour of crisis and commend people of Gujarat for their resilience. These terrorist acts are aimed at disturbing communal harmony and as people of Gujarat have shown admirably that they shall not succeed,” Singh said. He also said all political parties, the Central and state governments and civil society groups should cooperate and work together to defeat these forces.
Meanwhile, Ahmedabad appeared to be gradually limping back to normalcy, with most of the shops and business establishments opening for business despite heavy rains including those from the industrial areas of Naroda, Odhav, Vatva in the eastern part of the city.
The other city of Gujarat that was reeling under the threat of attack – Surat – however remained shut for business on Monday. The diamond and textile industry in the city had decided to close shop as a precaution. At least three live bombs with potential of high intensity were recovered from Surat on Sunday. There were reports of one more live bomb being found from Varachha Road, the hub of diamond business.
“We are now meeting with all the stake holders and police to work out a new way and beef up security in these highly crowded areas,” Chetan Shah, president, South Gujarat chamber of commerce and Industry said over the phone. He said the diamond industry was already facing lot of internal problems on the issue of wage hike to the workers and had seen spate of strike by workers and diamond factory owners in the recent past. The finding of bombs had only added to the troubles, Shah said.
The textile traders of Surat on their part have decided to stop all trading by 5’o clock in the evening and shut textile markets by 7p.m. They are also planning to install close circuit cameras at their premises.
”This is however temporary but we need a long term and permanent solution to this security problem. Our lives and way we do business will change forever,” Shah said.