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Blast outside Delhi HC, 11 killed, 76 injured

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Delhi High Court Blast UPDATE (As at 7 P.M. on September 7, 2011)

NIA has deployed a team of 20 officers to go into various aspects of investigation. NIA is also verifying the authenticity of the email received by two media channels, namely Aajtak and NDTV. Preliminary forensic investigation reveals that the explosive used could be Nitrate based. Some traces of PTN are also being suspected. The explosive quantity is estimated to be about 2 Kgs. which created a crater 2 ft. wide and 1 ft. deep. It is deduced that most of the casualties have been caused by the blast. However, detailed forensic examination is going on. 

Prime Minister has announced a compensation of Rs.2 lac to each person killed in this incident and Rs.1 lac to those injured. Separately, the Government of Delhi has announced a compensation of Rs.4 lac to each deceased and Rs.2 lac to those of the injured who have suffered loss of limb. Besides this, Delhi Government has also announced a compensation of Rs.50,000/- for major injuries and Rs.10,000/- for minor injuries apart from Rs.1 lac for any child orphaned in this blast and Rs.1.5 lac to any minor killed in the incident. 

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Terror struck the Capital when a powerful bomb placed in a briefcase ripped through a crowded reception area at the entrance to the High Court this morning killing 11 people and leaving 76 injured.

The "high intensity" bomb blast outside the High Court compound between Gate No. 4 and 5 occured at 10.14 AM when 100 to 200 litigants were waiting to get passes to enter the premises. Some lawyers were also present at that time.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said the blast was of "high intensity" and called it a "terrorist attack". The blast also left a 3-4 feet crater at the site of the explosion.

Chidambaram said it was not possible to identify the group behind the attack. It was for the second time in less than four months that the Delhi High Court was targeted. No one was injured in the previous explosion on May 25.

Union Home Ministry sources said the death toll has risen to 11. Sixty-five persons were injured out of whom 15 are in a serious condition.

The probe into the blast was handed over by Government to the National Investigation Agency(NIA) whose Chief S C Sinha said a 20-member team headed by a DIG has been formed.

A TV channel said it had received a mail purportedly written by Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami(HuJI).

Sinha felt it was too premature to comment on HuJI mail but said NIA was looking at it seriously because the outfit is a very prominent terrorist group which considers India as target number one.He said there were no clear leads as of now.

Lawyers and litigants with blood soaked clothes ran helter-skelter and chaos broke out after the deafening explosion in the heart of the Capital which could be heard even one km away. Some complained of hearing loss.

Broken limbs and pieces of flesh were strewn on the ground along with shards of glass.

An eyewtiness suggested that the bomber may have queued up at the reception gate for entry passes and left the briefcase in which the bomb was hidden.

Court proceedings were suspended for a while before they were resumed.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the bomb had all the makings of an Improvised Explosive Device(IED) set up by a terror group.

Singh said the bomb was kept in a suitcase since some of its remains were still in it.

After the bomb blast, panic-stricken people ran helter-skelter as it was chaos at the High Court premises. "I was just 10 metres from the site of the blast," said Rahul Gupta, a litigant, who was at the reception counter

"I saw a lot of people lying around in a pool of blood," he added.

Special Secretary(Internal Security) U K Bansal said 11 people were killed and 76 were injured, two of whom were in a critical condition in the ICU at RML hospital. 51 injured persons were undergoing surgical and orthopaedical emergencies and are out of danger at present.

He said preliminary probe indicated possible use of nitrate-based explosives laced with PETN. PETN, short for pentaerythritol trinitrate, is a chemical explosive that has a long history of terrorist use.

The injured were rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia(RML) Safdarjung and AIIMS hospitals.

Doctors at RML said most of the splinter injuries sustained were below the waist level. Some persons also sustained burn injuries.

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