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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 12:42 GMT
Varanasi suspect sketches issued
Identikit pictures of suspects
Two men are suspected of leaving a bomb in a shop
Police in India have issued sketches of two men they want to question in connection with twin bomb blasts which killed 14 in the holy city of Varanasi.

Superintendent Navneet Sikera said the pair were suspected of planting a bomb in a shop which was later defused.

Police suspect that militants fighting Indian rule were behind Tuesday's blasts at a Hindu temple and a railway station, in which 100 more were hurt.

No group has claimed the attacks, which brought appeals for calm across India.

I cradled him in my arms when he was a little baby and now these same hands will light the pyre of my only child
Father of one of the dead

Mr Sikera said the photofit pictures of the two men had been drawn up from information given by the shopkeeper, who says he remembers they spoke poor Hindi.

"Our priority is to find those who carried out the blasts... We will find them," Mr Sikera told a news conference.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh state police chief Yashpal Singh told the BBC that police had "enough evidence" to suggest the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group was behind the explosions.

On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh police shot dead a man they said was a Lashkar-e-Toiba member in the state capital, Lucknow. He was accused of involvement in last October's bomb blasts in Delhi which killed more than 60.

Video 'suspects'

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says attacks such as that on Varanasi have in the past been blamed on Islamic groups, particularly those fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

A father after cremating his son, a victim of the blasts, in Varanasi
Most of the victims of the blast have been cremated

But while those groups are quick to take credit for attacks on Indian security forces or government targets, they have always said they never attack civilians.

A wedding party took the brunt of the attack at Varanasi's famous Sankat Mochan temple.

Mr Singh said amateur video pictures of the wedding party had provided clues about "some suspects".

Uttar Pradesh officials say nine people were killed in the temple attack and five at the city's Cantonment railway station. As well as the bomb defused in the shop, another was defused on the bank of the River Ganges.

My best friend was actually in the temple when the blast took place. Fortunately she is safe
Suruchi Pandey, Bristol, UK

Most of the victims have been cremated on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi.

"I cradled him in my arms when he was a little baby and now these same hands will light the pyre of my only child," a father at a cremation ground was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Security has been stepped up around the areas that were bombed and in major cities, including the capital, Delhi.

'Pressure cooker'

Varanasi, also known as Benares, is about 670km (415 miles) south-east of Delhi.

It is the religious capital of Hinduism and is usually packed with Indian pilgrims and foreign tourists.

The twin blasts happened within minutes of each other on Tuesday evening.

The first took place in the Sankat Mochan temple dedicated to the Hindu God Hanuman, shortly before the main evening prayer was to begin.

Minutes later, the main railway station was rocked by a second blast.

It appeared explosives had been placed in a pressure cooker in the temple attack, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said.

Officials said experts also defused two bombs - on the bank of the River Ganges and at a city market. One of the bombs had a timing device.

The explosions happened days after Hindus and Muslims fought one another in Lucknow.


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See police issue the sketches of the men



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