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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 October 2005, 10:41 GMT
Indian media capture Delhi chaos
India press front pages
Indian papers pointed to the timing of the blasts
The attacks in the Indian capital, Delhi, dominate the front pages of all the national newspapers.

Many of them reflect the sense of panic and confusion in the immediate aftermath of the blasts.

The Times of India in its lead article, Terror does Diwali shopping in India, described how many civilians were caught off guard as they prepared for the Hindu festival of lights next week.

The festive spirit was overshadowed by fear and panic, as shoppers and traders scurried for cover, the paper said.

One hopes that Sunday will see the demonstration of such will in the capital, as London demonstrated a few months ago
Indian Express

"The attacks on crammed markets were seen as an effort to send a macabre message - [they] marked the worst-ever terror attack in the capital and were a chilling reminder of the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai," the Times said.

The Indian Express described it as "a festive weekend gone horribly wrong".

Human cost

Many of the newspapers focused on the panic on the streets and the scene in hospitals where anxious relatives tried to get information on missing loved ones.

Bomb squad police inspect explosion site
The bombs hit markets crammed with shoppers

"For Devi Lal searching for his 35-year-old nephew at hospital, the breaking point was the sight of cops standing at the gates, refusing to confirm if his nephew was admitted there," writes the Hindustan Times.

There were many others like him.

The Indian Express writes about 14-year-old Deepak Jain standing outside the emergency ward of the Lady Harding Medical college "begging constables to help him" locate his missing parents but without any success.

The Hindu newspaper says that many of those killed by the blasts were illegal street traders, and it tells the story of one vendor at the Sarojini Nagar market who lost 15 of his relatives, all of whom were running pavement stalls.

Many newspapers also talked about how quickly the streets emptied as the authorities advised people to stay indoors and keep away from public areas.

"By 7pm on Saturday, two days before Diwali, most marketplaces in Delhi wore a deserted look," wrote the Hindustan Times.

"Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar, two of the big shopping hubs, were still noisy - but with wails and the blaring siren of the ambulance."

Security questions

Some of the newspapers have also been questioning the role of the security agencies and wondering if more could have been done to prevent the attacks.

"Probably never before had our security establishment expected a terrorist strike as it did in the past fortnight. But where and how, had given sleepless nights to the intelligence agencies," says the Hindustan Times.

The Pioneer criticised the authorities for not being prepared.

"It goes to the discredit of the security agencies, including Delhi police, that the terrorists have managed to strike for the second time in the capital within six months after keeping a low profile since the attack on parliament in 2001," it said, referring to deadly attacks on two cinemas in May this year.

The Times of India quotes intelligence sources who seem in little doubt that the bombings were the work of Lashkar-e-Toiba, a radical Muslim organisation fighting for the self-determination of Kashmir.

The paper says the bombers were only one step ahead of the security services, who had received a specific tip-off that an attack might be imminent, and had beefed up security.

The Indian Express said it was clear that Delhi had joined "the list of major capitals and cities that have been targeted in recent months by the elusive perpetrators of such determined terrorist attacks".

It said it was very important that the residents of Delhi very quickly pick up the rhythms of normal life.

"One hopes that Sunday will see the demonstration of such will in the capital, as London demonstrated a few months ago."


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