Serial blasts rock three Uttar Pradesh cities, 10 killed

Serial blasts rock three Uttar Pradesh cities, 10 killed

Lucknow: Serial blasts Friday rocked three cities of Uttar Pradesh killing ten people, including two lawyers, in Faizabad and Varanasi while injuring two in state capital in explosions triggered by terrorists apparently targeting lawyers.

The blasts, which took place between 1.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m., claimed five lives in Faizabad and four in Varanasi. In both the places the dead included one lawyer each.

Five people were killed in Faizabad town adjoining Ayodhya while an equal number died in two blasts that rocked the collectorate complex housing lower courts in the holy town of Varanasi. Superintendent of Police (City) in Varanasi Rajeev Malhotra said 20 people were also injured.

Two seriously injured persons in Faizabad have been rushed to King George Medical College hospital in Lucknow for treatment, District Magistrate Anil Garg said. In all about 25 people were injured in Faizabad.

The blasts came a week after the Uttar Pradesh police along with central security agencies busted a Jaish-e-Mohammed module who wanted to target Rahul Gandhi. Lawyers had thrashed the three JeM militants when they were being produced before a court here.

Police believe the lawyers were tageted because they refused to appear in cases where suspected militants arrested.

Union Home Ministry got in touch with the state authorities to have a first-hand information about the situation in the state.

Rajendra Tiwari, President of Faizabad Bar Association, claimed that three lawyers were dead in the blasts in the court complex. He said the bombs were planted in cycles near the advocate chambers.

Meanwhile, the state police chief, who visited the blast site here, was surrounded by agitated lawyers who raised slogans against the administration and police.

The lawayers staged a sit-on outside the court premises to protest against the attack. At a meeting of Awadh Bar Association, it was decided not to attend court proceedings.

President of the Association, Shiv Pratap Singh Chauhan alleged that security arrangements were not tightened in the civil court after the 17 November incident in which lawyers had an altercation with the three Jaish militants.

Lucknow Senior Superintendent of Police, Akhil Kumar, said the blast in the state capital was of very low intensity and some pellets were recovered from the blast site.

Following the serial blasts in different court premises of the state, Allahabad collectorate premises was immediately vacated as a precautionary measure.

As soon as the news of the blasts reached the District Collectorate premises, which also houses the district court, a police party rushed to the spot and got the crowded compound evacuated.

The entire area was thoroughly checked and every person present there was frisked to rule out the possibility of any explosive substance, police said.

Judicial and administrative work in the collectorate was also disrupted following reports of the blasts.