Chidamabram says Delhi HC explosion is a terrorist strike

New Delhi, Sep.7 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday told Members of Parliament that the capital city of Delhi had been targetted again by terrorists, and that a nation-wide security alert has been issued following the explosion outside gate number five of the Delhi High Court.

Reading out a statement in the Lok Sabha, Chidambaram said the number of dead was nine and that the injury toll was 47 as per latest reports from investigating agencies and hospital officials.

He described it as a tragic incident and added that the government condemned it in the strongest possible terms. Offering the government's condolences to families of the dead victims and the injured, he said that no effort would be spared to pursue the perpetrators of this horrific crime.

He also said that with parliament and other important institutions being in Delhi, the national capital is being targetted. He said terrorist groups were trying to destablise the state and should not be allowed to succeed.

In his statement, Chidambaram said the investigation into the blast has been handed over to the National Security Guard (NSG) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The SWAT team and the bomb disposal squad are also at the site to search for key clues, he added.

Chidambaram said that his ministry has ordered a multi-pronged probe into the incident.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani said that the opposition was one with the government in condemning this shameful incident, and hoped that the government would take appropriate steps to prevent such incidents from taking place in the future.

He requested Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn proceedings in parliament as amark of respect to the dead and injured.

The explosion took place outside the Delhi High Court at around 10.14 a.m. Police officials and eyewitnesses said that the bomb components were found in a brief case.

The death and injury toll was confirmed by U.K.Bansal, Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Home Secretary R.K. Singh also presided over an emergency meeting of ministry and police officials and it was decided to place key metros on high alert in the wake of the blast.

The injured have been taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Jayprakash Narayan Hospital for treatment.

The area has been completely cordoned off to enable investigating agencies and others to assess the situation and the causes for the blast. Three CAT ambulances and several fire engines have arrived at the blast site.

Top Delhi Police officials, including Police Commissioner B.K.Gupta are at the spot. They are in touch with Home Ministry officials, media reports said. The Home Ministry is also assessing the situation, the reports added.

Gate number five is the main gate of the Delhi High Court from where most lawyers and litigants enter.

Police described the blast as a medium to high intensity one. (ANI)