Attacks in India Raise Spectre of Renewed Religious Strife

July 30, 2008

Author: Jonathan Manthorpe

Source: The Vancouver Sun

India has been the target of a concerted effort in the past few days and weeks to stir up the kind of bloody religious and communal strife all too common in recent history.

On Friday, eight bombs exploded in Bangalore, India's southern information technology capital in Karnataka state, killing two people and injuring scores.

The next day, 17 bombs went off in Ahmedabad, commercial capital of northwestern Gujarat state.

Forty-eight people were killed and hundreds wounded. An especially nasty aspect of the Ahmedabad attacks was that a second wave of bombs was planted outside two of the city's hospitals to catch wounded people being taken for emergency treatment.

In May, another series of blasts hit the popular tourist centre of Jaipur in the northern state of Rajasthan, killing 65.

Investigators have noted that all three states are governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Within the BJP are many virulently anti-Muslim politicians and the bombs were probably aimed at stirring up a violent reaction from these people.

Indeed, an e-mail claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad bombings said it was in revenge for anti-Muslim riots in Gujuarat state in 2002 in which about 2,500 people were killed.