Following Friday prayers, about 35 people have died and over 150 are injured in two separate bomb blasts, before they could atone for their sins and pray for their good fortune in the coming year.
The blasts occurred in a mosque attached to a graveyard (BaDa Qabrastan) and in a crowded market (Mushaira Market) in Malegaon, about 280 km north east of Mumbai. Malegaon has a population of about 700,000, of which, about two thirds are Muslims.
The blasts occurred after Friday prayer at around 1.50 p.m. on the eve of Shab e Barat.
The Muslims of the subcontinent consider Shab e Barat as a special occasion to pray for the departed and for their good fate and fortune in the coming year. There is no mention in the Qur’an of this practice and the Hadiths quoted by Tirmidhi for celebrating Shab e Barat are not considered very authentic by most religious interpreters.
State Police Chief P. S. Pasricha said curfew has been imposed in the town and New Delhi has dispatched 3000 paramilitary forces to maintain peace. So far, no group has taken responsibility for the blast
As happens after every terrorist act, New Delhi has been placed on high alert. Only a few days earlier Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned that terror groups could target religious and economic targets in the country and had asked the state governments to beef up security.
“I am shocked and saddened by the brutal terrorist bombings that killed innocent civilians outside a mosque in Malegaon today. There can be no justification of such a heinous act,” U.S. ambassador to India David C. Mulford said.