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Two Taiwanese Injured In Firing Near Jama Masjid In Delhi

New Delhi, Sep 19: Raising security concerns ahead of the Commonwealth Games, two men on a motorcycle on Sunday fired several rounds on a tourist vehicle near the historic Jama Masjid in the walled city,
PTI September 19, 2010 23:21 IST
New Delhi, Sep 19: Raising security concerns ahead of the Commonwealth Games, two men on a motorcycle on Sunday fired several rounds on a tourist vehicle near the historic Jama Masjid in the walled city, injuring two Taiwanese nationals.

A red alert has been sounded across the capital after the incident in which the two bikers are said to have fired 7-8 rounds on the stationary vehicle adjacent to Gate No 3 of the mosque and 100 metres away from the house of Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari at around 11.10 am.

The two injured -- Cesewein (27) and Cinglo (28) -- were rushed to the nearby government Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital, a senior police official said.

Cesewein (27) had a miraculous escape as the bullet grazed his head while Cinglo (28) was hit in right abdomen.

"There is an entry wound for Cinglo but there is no exit wound while there was a wound in the head of Cesewein but radiological investigation did not find any bullet on the scalp," LNJP Hospital Medical Superintendent Amit Banerjee said.

Home Minister P Chidambaram visited the hospital to inquire about the condition of both Taiwanese nationals.

The injured were part of a five-member group from Taiwan which was in the capital since Saturday. hey were to leave for Jaipur on Tuesday and then visit Agra and return to the capital on September 27 to take a flight back to Taiwan.

Karnal Singh, Joint Commissioner (Northern Range), told reporters that the four cartridges recovered from the spot showed that the weapon used could be .38 calibre revolver.

But the rounds of fire recovered were also of 9 mm, which can be used in pistol or carbine, he said refusing to hazard a guess on the motive of the attackers.

"We are looking into all angles and we cannot jump to conclusions. It appears to be done to create panic," he said.

"A red alert has been sounded and we are conducting checks at various points. We are confident of nabbing the culprits soon," he said.

Constable Pramod, who was manning the Gate No 3, tried to give a chase to the attackers but they fled on their motorcycle. A rickshaw puller also tried to give a chase and he even threw a brick at them in a bid to foil their escape.

The mini-bus also had one of its windows broken and a bullet pierced into its body.

"I saw the motorcyclists firing at the foreigners. I was ferrying passengers. I got out of the rickshaw and threw a brick at them and even tried to chase them. But they fled," said Salim, the rickshawpuller.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the incident is sad and worrying but said there was nothing to panic.

"I am in constant touch with the Police Commissioner. The police are investigating into the incident and culprits will be caught. Everything is under control," she said.

Asked whether it is a security scare ahead of the October 3-14 Games, Dikshit said, "This has been a very sad incident...an incident like this is something worrying but nothing to panic about."

She said it will be incorrect to presume that the two particular individuals were targeted as the attackers fired on the tourist bus.

"Lots of security measures have already been taken. But wherever there is an inadequacy about it, that hole has to be plugged," the Chief Minister said.

A large crowd gathered in the area while tourists who were there to visit the mosque left soon after the incident. Police said phone calls in the area are being scanned and armed personnel have been deployed in the locality.

Imam Bukhari called it a "terrorist" incident aimed at creating panic, preventing foreign visitors from coming to the city and making the Games a "failure".

"This has been done to spread panic in India so that people from outside do not come to Delhi...a conspiracy to make the Commonwealth Games a failure," he told reporters.

Asked if he feels terrorists were behind this, he said, "Killing innocent people, firing several rounds...doing all these things...this is terrorism and the authorities will have to find out who is responsible."

He said "outside forces" do not want peace and tranquillity in the country and the government will have to ensure security.

The Medical Superintendent of the LNJP hospital said the condition of both the injured are "basically stable".

BJP on Sunday condemned firing on foreign tourists and demanded foolproof security for next month's Commonwealth Games.  "We outrightly condemn the firing on a group of foreign tourists by AK-47 wielding assailants near Jama Masjid in New Delhi," the BJP national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said in Patna. 

"The attack on the foreign tourists is very unfortunate," he said adding that the incident took place "right under the nose of the central government which is responsible for the security of Delhi". 

Prasad asked the Centre to take "strong action against the perpetrators of the attack which some people have claimed to be a terror attack." 

Parking vehicles outside Commonwealth Games venues and iconic buildings have been banned in the wake of firing outside Jama Masjid on sunday  morning. 

An order was issued in this regard by Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna  late evening.  "Parking of vehicles outside Games venues and iconic and important buildings have been banned," a senior police official said.  Police will also check vehicles passing through these areas. PTI