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August 7, 2008

Death Toll From Bombs Rises In India

A series of low intensity bombs went off in the metropolitan areas of India Saturday night. The city of Ahmedabad was hit by bombs that killed at least 49 people and injured well over a hundred people. 17 bombs went off and the tools used to plant the bombs ranged from bicycles to lunch boxes. The motive for this attack is not yet known.

An apartment building the is rented by Americans was raided in Mumbai which is about 545 km(338 miles) away from where the bombs went off. The raid was based on an e-mails that had come from the apartment building, claiming responsibility for the bombings. 30 individuals have been rounded up by police but no official arrest have been made in the case.

The bombs went off in a 70 minute span and were all within a 6 mile radius of one another. The time span of the bombings must have caused great terror among residents. The bombs went off fast enough for people to be scared but not fast enough for alerts to be given off. Police were probably rushing to the scene of one bombing as the next bomb was going off. This low grade form of terror is one that works to strike fear in the hearts of ordinary citizens. The people that these bombs hurt are not diplomats and likely have nothing to do with the issues that the bomber is upset about.

The army, police and paramilitary forces are on the streets of the city trying to reassure residents. The serial blasts come just 24 hours after bombs went off in Bangalore. Those explosions took the lives of two people and left six others injured.

Two bombs that did not go off were found in Admedabad. One was in a garbage receptacle and the other was on the side of the road. There is speculation that the Muslim militant group Indian Indian Mujahedeen is responsible for these bombings. E-mails were reportedly sent to the Indian Intelligence Bureau and several media outlets. However, the Islamic militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami or the Movement of the Islamic Holy war has claimed responsibility for the bombings. If any of these reports are true, event though a specific motive has not been established, the violence may be one of religious origin.

In the past Islamic militants have been attacked by members of the Hindu majority. In 2002 there were riots in Ahmedabad that left 1,000 people dead. The riots were between Hindu and Muslims and were sparked by the death of 60 Hindu pilgrims on a train. The train caught on fire and even though the cause of the fire was not clear, some Hindus blamed Muslims.

The problem with this type of thinking is that blaming Muslims is a blanket statement. Just as setting up random bombs to kill Hindus is a very blanket response to religious tensions and attacks. This type of thinking does not get anyone anywhere except for dead. As bombs go off and riots are carried out nothing it solved.

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