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Statement of the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha (House of the People) regarding the blasts in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi
March 8, 2006 

Hon’ble Speaker, Sir, I rise to make a statement regarding the two blasts that took place
yesterday evening in Varanasi, one at Sankat Mochan temple and the other at the Cantonment
Railway Station.

2. As per the initial information received from the state government, these two blasts
occurred almost simultaneously around 6.20 in the evening and, in these blasts, 14 persons
including 1 woman and 1 child have been killed and 103 persons got injured. All the injured
have been shifted to the hospitals for treatment.

3. An ex-gratia amount of Rs.5 lakhs has been announced for the next-of-kin of those killed
and an amount of Rs.1 lakh for those injured seriously and Rs.50,000 for those with minor
injuries.

4. Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, National Advisory Council and I have visited the sites
of the blasts with senior officers of the Ministry and visited the injured persons in the hospitals.
We condemn these inhuman and senseless acts of terror on innocent people and deeply
condole these and convey our deep sympathies to the aggrieved families. The temple was
targeted understandably to cause communal tension in the country.

5. The Central Government reviewed the situation immediately after these blasts and the
state governments were sensitized to step up vigil and take all precautionary measures to
ensure communal peace and harmony. The people were asked to remain calm and maintain
peace. Additional forces (5 Companies of RAF and 10 Companies of PAC) were deployed in
Varanasi for maintenance of peace and public order. The Central Government is in constant
touch with the state government and is closely monitoring the situation.

6. The state government has entrusted the investigation of these blasts to the Special Task
Force. No arrests have so far been made in this regard. The State Government is taking all
possible steps to nab the perpetrators of the blasts. The Central Government will render all
possible help and assistance.

7. I would like to assure the august House that the Government remains firmly committed
to combating terrorism. All of us have to ensure that such acts of terror by some desperate
anti-national elements do not disturb peace, public order and communal harmony in the
country and would not be allowed to undermine our determination to combat, control and
contain the violence.