MUMBAI, India (AP) - Indian investigators on
Sunday sifted clues in the western town of Malegaon in an effort
to uncover the culprits behind deadly blasts that killed dozens
of Muslim worshippers.
No one has claimed responsibility for Friday's
attack, which killed at least 31 people and wounded more than
100 others as worshippers left afternoon prayer services at a
The four bombs that went off were crude devices
with basic timers and did not "need a huge technical know-how"
to construct, V.K. Dugal, a senior official in the Federal Home
Ministry, told the NDTV news channel. He added the explosives
were "fabricated locally."
Police were also tracking down the origin of two
bicycles used to carry the bombs. "They were brand new, so they
have been purchased locally," he said. Malegaon has long been
the scene of violence between Hindus and Muslims, as have a
number of other towns in Maharashtra state, where the city is
Malegaon is a city of about 500,000 people, 75
percent of them Muslim, about 300 kilometers (180 miles)
northeast of Mumbai.
The city was calm Sunday as people returned to
the streets, and businesses opened again as fears of riots
"The most important thing at this juncture is to maintain
communal harmony," Sonia Gandhi, the head of India's ruling
Congress party, told reporters after visiting the blast site.
"These terrorist acts were aimed at creating a divide in the
society." The bombings occurred on a Muslim festival day when
hundreds of people were crowded in and around the shrine. A
series of terrorist bombings have ripped across India in the
past year. The most recent was the July bombings of seven Mumbai
commuter trains that killed more than 200 people. The attacks
have been blamed on Pakistan-based Muslim militants. India's
worst religious violence in recent years was in 2002, in western
Gujarat state. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslim, were
killed by Hindu mobs in revenge attacks after a train fire
killed 60 Hindus returning from a religious pilgrimage. Muslims
were blamed for the train fire.