Updates: Delhi blast leaves 11 dead; sketches of suspect released

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9:30 pm: Was the day, site of the blast chosen carefully by bombers?

The day - Wednesday - and the site - Delhi High Court - were chosen purposefully by the bombers for maximum casualties, it would seem. It is the day of the week that is fixed for filing public interest litigations, and Gate No. 5 is the place where the litigants crowd to enter the court premises.

If the blast had taken place on any other day of the week, the casualties would certainly have been lower, said lawyers.

Wednesday is especially kept for taking up or filing public interest litigations before the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The day was fixed for hearing PILs to make it convenient for both petitioners and respondents. Earlier, varying days were given for the hearings which caused a lot of chaos, a lawyer said.  Read on

9:15 pm: Police suspect attacker may be among injured or dead

A police official said investigators were not ruling out the possibility that the attackers, or at least one among them, might have injured himself or been killed in the blast.

'It may be possible that the bomb planter could not escape from the spot before the explosion took place. We are verifying and tracking all the injured and dead,' said the police officer.

9:00 pm: Delhi blast a heinous attack: Sarkozy

Terming Wednesday's blast in Delhi a 'heinous terrorist attack', French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France is on India's side in fighting the 'barbaric scourge' of terror.

'At a time when New Delhi has once again been struck by a heinous terrorist attack claiming tens of innocent victims, I would like to express my complete solidarity and heartfelt condolences on behalf of France and myself,' Sarkozy said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

'France is at India's side during this distressing ordeal and I am more determined than ever to fight this barbaric scourge together. The combat against terrorism unites us and we shall always pursue our efforts relentlessly,' he said in a statement that was issued here.

'Please accept, Prime Minister, the assurances of my highest consideration and friendship,' Sarkozy said.

8:45 pm: Some leads to Delhi blast, says PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there were 'some leads' to the Delhi High Court blast but it was too early to say which group was behind the bombing.

There were 'weaknesses' in the security system that needed to be plugged, he said while speaking to reporters on board his special aircraft while returning home after a two-day visit to Dhaka.

He said: 'Several mechanisms were put in place after the Mumbai blasts... there are weaknesses in our system, we must work hard to plug the weaknesses.'

He added that he was confident that India would win the war against terror.

'I am confident that this is a war we will and we must win,' said Manmohan Singh in reply to a query on the blast in which 11 people were killed.

8:30 pm: Can't speculate on blast: Dikshit

Appealing to people not to panic in the 'tragic moment', Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said it would not be fair to hazard a guess on the reasons behind Wednesday's bomb blast.

Asked why the Delhi High Court was targeted, Dikshit said: 'I can't be clear on that as there could be several reasons.'

8:15 pm: Security alert in Kolkata following Delhi blast

A security alert has been sounded in this West Bengal capital following the Delhi High Court blast.

Checking at the entry and exit points of the city was tightened after police received an alert.

'We have received an alert. Therefore, we are taking all types of security arrangements. Security arrangements are being tightened,' Commissioner of Police R.K. Pachnanda said.

Top police officers held a meeting chaired Director General of Police Naparajita Mukherjee to assess security situation in the city.

8:00 pm: Come in the open and fight: Anna Hazare

Anna Hazare challenged terror elements and groups to 'come out in the open and fight' rather than target innocents.

'Come out in the open and fight. Don't target innocents in this manner,' Hazare declared, expressing his sympathies for the victims of the terror attack in New Delhi.

7:45 pm: Apex court may have parliament-like security

In the wake of the bomb blast at Delhi High Court Wednesday, the Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia is considering a security cover for the Supreme Court on the line of parliament in order to thwart any terror attack.

Chief Justice Kapadia, who visited the blast site later in the evening, asked senior counsel and MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi to give a detailed note on the security arrangement in parliament complex and the estimated cost of putting in place a similar system in the court. Read on

7:30 pm: Plastic based deadly explosive used in Delhi blast

Terrorists may have used hard-to-detect plastic-based explosive PETN in Wednesday's Delhi High Court blast -- the same substance used in the underwear bomb plot on a 2009 Northwest Airlines Flight 253 and by the 'shoe bomber'..

Sharing details of the 'preliminary' investigations, Secretary Internal Security U.K. Bansal told reporters that traces of pentaerythritol trinitrate (PETN) have been recovered from the blast site.

'But this is the result of preliminary investigation. Rigorous investigations are in progress,' Bansal said, indicating that the explosive traces found were not conclusive. Read on

7:15 pm: NO CCTVs in Delhi court even after May blast

There are no CCTVs in the Delhi High Court complex although Delhi Police had been reprimanded by the same court for security lapses after the May 25 blast.

'After May 25, Delhi Police should have learnt a lesson and installed CCTVs at all the nine gates of the court.

'This security lapse was highlighted in May when a bomb exploded in a parking lot near Gate 7 of the court,' said Delhi bar association chairman Rakesh Tiku. More on this story

7:00 pm: PM sanctions Rs 2 lakh each for victims of Delhi blast

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sanctioned Rs 2 lakh to the families of each of those killed in the blast outside Delhi High Court, an official statement said.

Rs.1 lakh each has been sanctioned to those injured.

6:40 pm: Blood donors flock to help blast victims

Volunteers flocked to donate blood at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where most of the victims of the Delhi High Court blast were rushed today.

'Ever since news spread that the blast victims have been brought here, we have been getting a lot of donors for blood donation,' an official of the RML hospital handling the helpline told.

'We have enough stock (of blood). So if anyone wants to donate, then they can enquire and come,' the official added.

Social networking sites like Twitter were abuzz that hospitals like RML were running short of blood.

6:20 pm: Suspects in Delhi High Court blast

6:00 pm: Delhi police release sketches of two suspects

Delhi Police on Wednesday evening released sketches of two suspects said to be behind the blast outside the Delhi High Court.

Police said one of the suspects was aged around 26, while the other was in his 50s. They added that these two suspects may have been part of a larger terrorist module of about four to five persons.

5:45 pm: Delhi High Court functions after lunch

The Delhi High Court resumed work post-lunch, barely hours after a powerful blast at Gate No.5 of the compelx left 11 dead and 76 injured.

Putting up a brave face, Secretary of the Delhi High Court Bar Association D.K. Sharma said work was resumed to send across a message.

'We are functioning normally so that a clear message goes to the public at large that we are not bogged down by the terror attack,' said Sharma.

'It is the only the symbolic hearing that is happening in the courts. I hope that the government should learn some lesson on beefing up security outside court premises,' he said.

5:30 pm: Delhi blast exposes security, intelligence loopholes

Top security experts say that blast outside the Delhi High Court has 'exposed the loopholes in our security system' which 'has an inadequate and incapable intelligence gathering system and a weak counter-terrorism mechanism'. More on this story

5:24 pm: Delhi High Court blast captured on mobile phone

5:17 pm: Delhi blast: US offers assistance to India

Condemning the bomb explosion outside the Delhi High Court that killed 11 people, the US Wednesday underlined solidarity with India and offered its assistance in bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

'On behalf of all Americans, I extend deep condolences to the government of India and the families of those harmed in this morning's attacks on the New Delhi High Court,' US Charge d'Affaires Peter Burleigh said in a statement.

'Terrorism is a crime that affects us all. Bombings like today's demonstrate that our shared struggle continues against those who would commit such atrocities,' he said.

5:13 pm: Delhi bombing act of senseless violence:

'This act of senseless violence, directed at one of the institutions of government, appears to have been planned to cause a high number of casualties among the general public,' Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard's office said in a statement.

'We extend our sympathy and concern to the government and people of India at this time. Our thoughts are with the families of the innocent people who have been killed, and with those injured by the blast,' said the statement.

5:10 pm: Rahul Gandhi visits hospital, blast site

Rahul Gandhi was heckled when he visited Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, where the maximum number of people injured in the bomb blast at the Delhi High Court have been admitted. He later visited the blast site.

5:00 pm: Delhi police releases sketches of two suspects behind the bombing.

4:50 pm: No CCTV at the Delhi High Court were working, IBNLive reports.

4:35 pm: HuJI claims responsibility for Delhi blast

The Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami has claimed responsibility for the terror bombing outside the Delhi High Court complex.

In an email sent from an unknown location to various media houses, the HuJI claimed that the blast which left 10 people dead was the handiwork of the terror group, which also an affiliate in Bangladesh.

It demanded that the death sentence of 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should be immediately 'repealed'.

'We own the responsibility of today's blast at (the) high court (in) Delhi. Our demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately else would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India,' the email read.

4:25 pm: There was blood all over, says eyewitness

Delhi blast: There was blood all over, says eyewitnessA powerful blast took place at 10:15 am this morning at the Delhi High Court at Gate no 5. This is the second blast in four months at the Delhi High Court.

4:15 pm: Photos: Horror at Delhi High Court

4:00 pm: The death toll in the Delhi High Court bombing has risen to 11 making it the third worst terror strike since the November 2008 Mumbai attack.

3: 45 pm: Ammonium nitrate possibly used

'There is a possibility that ammonium nitrate was used,' Additional Commissioner of Police KC Dwivedi said.

In a July 27 notification, exactly two weeks after the July 13 triple bombings that killed around 25 people in Mumbai, the Indian government listed ammonium nitrate under the Explosives Act, 1884, and banned its open sale, purchase and manufacture.

3: 40 pm: Horror at high court: Splattered blood, flying body parts

Blood splattered on the street, tatters of what were till a few minutes ago litigants' papers, heart-wrenching wails, disfigured men raising hysterical screams -- what was a regular bustling weekday morning turned into a nightmare.

Horror-struck lawyers, journalists, litigants and locals ran in all directions, stumbling into victims, bags and what looked like their remains, lying on the road.

It was only after the heavy smoke triggered by the 'terrible explosion' withered away did they come to terms with the monstrosity of the act. More here

3: 30 pm: High court blast is 19th attack in Delhi in 15 years

The bomb blast that killed at least 10 people and left 65 injured outside the Delhi High Court Wednesday morning is the 19th strike in the capital since 1996. Chronology of earlier blasts in Delhi

3: 00 pm: High alert in Andhra Pradesh after Delhi blast

Police were put on high alert in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and other major towns of Andhra Pradesh Wednesday after a bomb blast near the Delhi High Court killed ten people.

Three platoons of policemen were deployed at the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

Security was beefed up around the Nampally Criminal Court complex, other court buildings here in the capital and also at the assembly and secretariat complexes, places of worship and other important locations. More here

2: 45 pm: Don't speculate on blast: Khurshid

Law Minister Salman Khurshid urged people not to speculate on who exploded the bomb. 'It is a very sensitive issue and there is not enough information available immediately, we should not speculate,' Khurshid told reporters.

2:30 pm: NIA chief has announced that HuJI has sent mail claiming responsibility. The mail is being seriously looked at. More

2:10 pm: Injured to be compensated

Delhi govt announces compensation: Rs 1 lakh compensation for those seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who sustained minor injuries.

2: 00 pm: Rs 4 lakh to kin of dead

1: 55 pm: Blast is shocking and numbing, says Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi addessed the media outside the court. He said, "this is a terrible tragedy. This is something which is shocking and numbing. Our hearts go out to each litigant. They've come with great pressure and to be torn away suddenly out of the blue is terrible.

1: 50 pm: Chemical analysis on bomb likely by evening, CNN IBN

1: 45 pm:
Sheila Dikshit at RML hospital
Delhi CM visits the injured in RMLhospital and says doctors are doing the best they can.

1: 35 pm: Will not succumb to pressure of terrorism: PM
Dr Singh said that all political parties and people of India must stand united. The PM is expected to return to India this evening.

1: 25 pm: Major metros placed on high alert after Delhi HC blast

Major metros of India have been placed on a state of high alert after Wednesday morning's explosion outside gate number five of the Delhi High Court.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior Home Ministry and police officials. The emergency meeting was chaired by Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh.

Thirteen members of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the bomb squad are at the blast site collecting evidence as to what caused the explosion at around 10. 15 a.m. this morning. More here

1: 20 pm: Terrorism in Delhi - A timeline

With today's bomb explosion outside the Delhi High Court, the number of terrorist attacks on the capital since 1997 has gone up to 30.

Among the most recent incidents, 59 people were killed and 155 injured during the October 18, 1997 serial bomb blasts that ripped through the markets of Sarojini Nagar, Paharganj and Govindpuri.

On September 13, 2008, five low-intensity explosions were set off within minutes of each other, beginning with Ghaffar Market, two explosions at Connaught Place, one at Barakambha Road and another near the Central Park Metro station at 6.31 pm. Blasts also rocked M-block market in Greater Kailash-I. Within seven minutes another bomb exploded in the same market. Twenty-five people were reported killed and 150 injured.

On September 27, two men on a motorcycle dropped a polythene packet containing a low-intensity explosive in the crowded Flower Market in Mehrauli. Three people, including a nine-year-old boy who picked up the bag, were killed and 21 people were injured.

On September 19, 2010, two armed men opened fire at Taiwanese tourists as they boarded a bus in the crowded Jama Masjid area. A Maruti car also went up in flames near the mosque, triggering panic. No casualties were reported though 14 injuries were claimed. The attack came two weeks ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

1: 15 pm: PM's statement on the blast
Dr Manmohan Singh says the terror strike is a "cowardly act". Meanwhile, Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit visits at the RML hospital and HM Chidambaram visits the blast sight.

1: 10 pm:
4 kg explosive used for the blast:  HT
Hindustan Times tweets, "4 kg explosive used for the blast, crater of 4x4 feet formed at the site: reports"

12: 36 pm: Chidambaram addresses Lok Sabha; 10 dead, 65 injured

Addressing the parliament on the blast, Home Minister P Chidambaram said 10 people have died while 65 are injured. The investigation into the blast will be handled by the NIA. He added, "Delhi is a target during parliament session. Delhi  is on high alert. Intelligence pertaining to threats from certain groups was shared in July. Right now it is not possible to identify those behind the attack yet. Despite Delhi Police remaining alert, the tragic incident occurred today. Govt unequivocally condemns today's attack...Condolences to families of those who lost their lives...I appeal to the parliament and the entire nation, we must remain resolute and united..." Read more

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12: 29 pm: Number of injured rises to 50

Special Commissioner Dharmendra Kumar said the number of injured admitted in various hospitals is at 50. Most of them have sustained leg injuries.

12: 07 pm: Opposition parties react to blast

BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad: It is a matter of great distress...Why isn't the government taking any action? How many more deaths? There is no proper security, no intelligence inputs...We condemn the attack.

CPI's D Raja: We condemn the attack in all possible terms...the government should come up with the right probe and share what went wrong... what is going on, what is wrong with our intelligence network?  We strongly condemn this attack.  Nobody should go scot-free. There is a failure on the government's part.

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11: 55 am: No intelligence inputs on the blast: MHA

11: 47 am: High intensity bomb used

Lok Sabha condemns the blast, is adjourned till 12:30 pm, reports HT.

11: 45 am: All metros on high alert

11: 35 am: MHA assesses situation

Times Now reports the MHA is in constant touch with investigative teams at the blast sight. The bomb was concealed in briefcase and place outside gate no 5.

11: 27 am: Delhi Blast: There was blood all over, says eyewitness

"It was a powerful blast...there is a lot of blood there," said a shocked woman lawyer, who was just driving up to work at the Delhi High Court when the explosion took place near Gate no 5.

Lawyers said the blast could be heard at the Patiala House two or three kilometers away. Kavita, an eyewitness said she was in a judge's chamber when she heard the blast. "The windows rattled she said."  More

11: 17 am: 9 dead, 45 injured: Union Home Secretary

Medium to high intensity bomb used. He added that Delhi is on high alert and that investigations have begun.

11: 15 am:  Parliament adjourned, Home Minister to make a statement at 12:30 pm

11: 12 am:  NIA to help investigate

Besides the Delhi police and the forensic team, the NIA and NSG are also being rushed to the spot.

11: 09 am: 4 dead, 30 injured: Special home secy

A lawyer tells NDTV, that gate no 5 used to issue passes to litigants. He also said that 10 am is peak hour. Special home secretary tweets that so far four have been confirmed dead and 30 injured.

11: 04 am: Officials confirm four are dead, reports HT

Hindustan Times tweets that officials have confirmed four people have died in today's blast.

11: 00 am: Second blast in 4 months

This is the second blast in the Delhi High Court premises. On May 25, also a Wednesday,  there was a low intensity blast.

10: 53 am: Blast happened at 10:17 am: Police

The blast happened in the area where people wait for passes to enter the court premises, said special officer Special Commissioner Dharmendra Kumar.

10: 46: Bomb could have been placed in a briefcase: Police

A police officer at the blast area say there is a possibility that the bomb could have been placed in a briefcase. Delhi police have asked people to clear the High Court area. The injured have been taken to Safdurjung hospital and RML hospital.

10: 43 am: HC building being evacuated: Lawyer

A lawyer present at the blast sight tweets, " Blast in delhi HC. Right in front of me. *shudders* the whole car shook" ..."The bomb was very powerful it seems. Everyone is outside. Lots of injured. The gates are closed now. Can hear sirens"...The bomb was very powerful it seems. Everyone is outside. Lots of injured. The gates are closed now. Can hear sirens"..."Many hurt. Building being evacuated. The Judges are themselves out in the corridor."

10: 40 am: Two feared dead, says NDTV

The nature of the blast is yet to be identified. So far, two people are feared dead in the explosion, reports NTDV, while CNN IBN says the number of injured may be around 20.

10: 38 am: Police cordon off the blast sight, fire tenders rush in.

10: 35 am: The injured are being taken to Safdarjung hospital, reports Times Now

10: 30 am: Ambulance rushed in

Ambulance arrives at the explosion site. The number of injured is still not confirmed. The reason for the explosion is not known yet.

10: 25 am: Explosion outside Delhi High Court gate no 5

Blast outside Delhi High Court. Television channels report of injuries to people. There are more people at the court premises than other days of the week since Wednesdays are when PILs are heard.