A friend called some half hour ago, asked me to go read news. Terrorists have attacked Akshardham temple in Gujarat.
Two (or five) terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles and hand grenades attacked the temple. Some 44 people, of which four were children, died. And some 100 were injured. It was tuesday evening, the day of lord Hanuman. The day most people go to a Hindu temple.
The terrorists are still holed up inside the 23-acre temple complex. With them about 100 people are believed to be inside but they are said to be safe.
They arrived in an ambassador car and climbed over the temple wall to enter the premises around 4.45 pm and started shooting indiscriminately at the visitors. 3-4 grenades were also hurled at the devotees.
A rescued devotee said he thought someone was setting off firecrackers before he saw people running here and there and realized what has happened. Rescue voluteers had blood all over their clothes from moving the dead bodies from inside the temple complex.
India's Deputy Prime Minister, Advani said the attack was an attempt to divert attention from the successful J&K polls. Police said the attack was in all probability a retaliation to the communal riots which took place in Gujarat earlier this year.
Akshardham temple was set up by followers of Lord Swaminarayan, who lived from AD 1781-1830 and had been visited, among others, by the former US President Bill Clinton after the devastating earthquake, that took place last year.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has cut short his official Maldives visit and is returning on Wednesday.
There were two muslims in the victims, a fact highlighted by all major newspapers.
What am I feeling right now? I have no idea. It's not the worst attack yet on India. It's, of course, not the first one. Will there be prayers for those who died today all over the world? A year from now, would anyone care?
Update: (Sept 25)
Commandos of India's National Security Guards (NSG) stormed the temple in the early hours of Wednesday to flush out the gunmen.
It was reported that there were three of them. Media reports mentioned that all three were shot dead after two massive blasts and more exchanges of fire followed.
Without explicitly blaming Pakistan, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani said "enemies of the country" were behind the temple attack. On its own part, Pakistan condemned the assault and denied any part in the raid.
Dozens of devotees and other visitors locked in various rooms and buildings in the vast temple complex to try to keep themself safe were reportedly unhurt and were safely evacuated.
Thankyou everyone who cared.