Malegaon, Modasa parallel: timing, bikes and the target
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The crude but powerful bomb that exploded at 9.35 pm on Monday in the powerloom town of Malegaon killed four Muslims in a locality crowded with people who had broken their Ramzan fasts. The victims were an eight-year-old girl who had stepped out of her house to have pakoras, a 15-year-old boy and two men.
The blast at Bhikku Chowk came two years to the month when three explosions hit Muslim worshippers barely half a kilometre away and killed 37 people. While the bombs in 2006 were placed on bicycles, Monday's device was placed on a motorcycle which police said had been put together with parts and an engine from different vehicles and bore the brand name "Freedom". It is suspected to have a stolen number plate. The bomb was kept under the seat, just behind the engine.
The motorcycle was parked near a row of shops, directly beneath the first floor office of SIMI. The office had been sealed after the organisation was banned in 2001. The 2006 blasts were blamed on SIMI and nine people were arrested but the trial in the case has been stayed by the Supreme Court over a legal challenge.
Police said they had no immediate suspects in the latest incident. On whether Hindu hardliners were suspected, Sanjeev Dayal, Maharashtra's Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order), told The Indian Express: "At this stage we cannot rule out the possibility. All angles are being explored."
The explosion sparked chaos and brought hundreds of angry Muslims out into the streets. They pelted stones at policemen and Home Guards and police fired 58 rounds in the air to disperse them which only enraged the mob further. Eventually, curfew was imposed around midnight and lifted at 6 am Tuesday by when the situation had come under control.
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