Pune blast: Toll goes up to 13, Puneites hold candle light vigil

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 20, 2010

The death toll in the bomb blast that devastated a popular eatery in Pune last Saturday evening went up to 13 today with two more people succumbing to their injuries in hospitals today.

One of those was a Sudanese student, who died in Pune's Inlaks Budhrani hospital in the early hours of today. He was a student at the Wadia College in Pune.

The other was Atul Anap, a 30-year-old employee of Reliance Communications, who passed away in Mumbai's KEM Hospital today. He was a resident of Navi Mumbai.

The blast at the "German Bakery" in Pune's Koregaon Park area, frequented by foreigners and youngsters, was the first major terrorist incident in India after the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which claimed 166 lives.

With the death of the Sudanese youth, the number of foreigners killed in the incident has gone up to four. The others were an Iranian youth, an Italian woman and a Nepalese youth who worked as a waiter at the restaurant.

Nine people had died and 57 others injured on the day of the blast that was set off by unidentified terrorists at the restaurant, located close to the Osho Ashram and a Jewish Chabad House.

Two youths, both engineering students - one from Lucknow and the other from Delhi - had succumbed to their injuries in Pune hospitals earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Pune's Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh told mediapersons today that German Bakery was one of those establishments in the area that had been warned of possible terror threats and asked to take security measures, including the appointment of a guard, frisking of visitors and so on.

Reports from the forensic science laboratory in Pune have stablished that ammonium nitrate, RDX and petroleum had been used in the explosive used by the perpetrators of the attack.

Details about how the explosion was triggered, whether by a timer device or by remote conrol, were still not available.

The blast occurred around 7.30 pm last Saturday when the restaurant was teeming with youngsters and foreigners. The explosion took place when a waiter noticed an unattended backpack under one of the tables and tried to open it.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) is investigating the case with assistance from officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The Osho Ashram and the Chabad House had both been surveyed by suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley during one of his visits to India.

Headley, a US national of Pakistani origin, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, also believed to be an LeT operative, were arrested by the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from Chicago in October last year for allegedly conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks in Denmark and India.

Subsequent investigations have led the authorities in the US and India to believe that the two men were involved in the conspiracy to carry out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Puneites, including many youngsters,held a candle-light vigil for the victims of the blast that occurred exactly a week ago and vowed to support the victims and their families. They also asserted that they would not be cowed down by such incidents and would fight the evil of terrorism in every way possible.