2006 Varanasi bombings: Twin blasts that shook world's holiest city

Lashkar-e Kahar/Qahab claimed responsibility for the attacks via a local news agency in Srinagar and threatened similar attacks in other cities unless the government stopped its "catch and kill" campaign in Jammu and Kashmir.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, March 06, 2022, 06:43 PM IST
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On 7 March 2006, a series of bombs went off in the holy city of Varanasi killing at least twenty-eight people and injuring more than a hundred.

Blast at Temple:

The first blast took place at 6:20 in the evening at the crowded Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple near the Banaras Hindu University. The bomb was placed in a container near a gate at the temple where women usually sit. Hundreds of pilgrims were in the temple as it was a Tuesday which is believed to be a holy day by the worshipers of Hanuman Ji.

Blast at station:

Another blast took place at the Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station in the waiting area next to the travel office in which 11 were killed. Six bombs were reported defused from other areas in the city, including a restaurant frequented by foreigners, in the vicinity of the railway station.

The then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm. A state of high alert was declared in India's major cities. Police were sent to all major places of worship in New Delhi. Varanasi was shut down to protest the blasts; shops and businesses were closed, and authorities closed schools and colleges.

Lashkar-e Kahar/Qahab claimed responsibility for the attacks via a local news agency in Srinagar and threatened similar attacks in other cities unless the government stopped its "catch and kill" campaign in Jammu and Kashmir.

Facts about bombing:

  • The bomb blasts took place a little after six in the evening

  • About ten people were killed at the temple

  • The second blast occurred at the Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station killing 11 people and injuring more

  • Three live bombs were retrieved from the temple complex, one live bomb from a restaurant, from Godolia and Dashaswamedh ghat

  • Lashkar-e-Taiba, the same group that carried out the Mumbai terror attacks two years later, was said to be the attack’s mastermind

  • One of the group’s members was shot and killed by the police the next day in Varanasi

  • The horror of the bomb blasts was repeated four years later when a blast occurred at the Sheetla Ghat in December 2010

  • The railway ministry announced ex-gratia of IN Rs 100,000 to the next of kin of those who died in the explosion at the Cantonment railway station in Varanasi.

(with sources inputs)

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