(Following is the report by Reuters published in the newspapers across the world on 16th March, 1993)
A Sikh militant group that has set off many bombs in the troubled state of Punjab claimed responsibility yesterday for the Friday (12 March, 1993) blasts that killed 300 people in Bombay.
In another development, an Indian newspaper said the United States would send a team of experts to Bombay to compare the Bombay explosions to the February 26 blast that rocked the World Trade Centre in New York City.
The US Embassy in New Delhi refused to confirm the report.
Also yesterday, experts defused two more motorcycle bombs, each packed with 20 kg of explosives, in Bombay’s crowded gold and diamond bazaar.
Police on Sunday found another motorcycle packed with explosives near a train station.
A man claiming to be a spokesman for the Khalistan Commando Force called the Press Trust of India yesterday to claim responsibility for the bombings. The man said his militant group wanted to display its resolve to the federal and Punjab governments.
The rebel group, one of many in Punjab state, suffered major setbacks last year when police shot and killed its four top leaders. The separatist Sikh group accuses India of discriminating against Punjab’s large Sikh population. Punjab is one of the few states in India without a Hindu majority.
However, Indian officials investigating the car bombs in Bombay have said they appear to have contained sophisticated explosives never used in the country’s many terrorist attacks.
Bombay has been peaceful since Friday, but officials are concerned the explosions could cause more Hindu-Muslim riots in the city, where 600 people died in such violence in January.
Police have arrested a man with a Sri Lankan passport and his Indian accomplice over the bombings.
Authorities are also reportedly searching for a group of Muslims, including one whose hotels and restaurants were damaged during the January Hindu-Muslim riots.