Indian leaders urge calm, army called out after attacks

AHMEDABAD, July 27, 2008 (AFP) – Indian leaders issued appeals for calm Sunday as the army was called out after a wave of bombings killed 45 people in Ahmedabad, a city rocked by deadly Hindu-Muslim riots six years ago. The string of 16 bombings, which left more than 160 people injured, ripped through crowded places in the tinderbox western city — markets, buses and then hospitals struggling to treat the scores of victims.

They came just one day after another wave of nine bombings in the southern high-tech capital of Bangalore left one dead and several injured — prompting the government to put the entire country on high alert.

Indian television channels said a little-known Islamist group calling itself the “Indian Mujahedeen” had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Bomb squads defused at least three unexploded devices in Ahmedabad on Sunday, Indian news channels reported, while soldiers staged a ‘flag march’ — or show of authority — in sensitive parts of the city.

Joint police commissioner Ashish Bhatia told AFP a number of people had been detained in overnight raids, but said no formal arrests had yet been made.

Ahmedabad was calm Sunday, with police, soldiers and paramilitary forces fa