Deadly Blast In Delhi

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman, this is The World. A powerful bomb exploded outside a courthouse in Delhi, India this morning. Eleven people were killed and scores wounded. A group linked to al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility. The targeted building was the high court in downtown Delhi, one of the best protected areas in India. The BBC Mark Dummett was there after the attack.

Mark Dummett: This was a high profile target that really strikes at the core of the government really. The high court is surrounded by government buildings; a lot of security in place. Still the bomber was able to strike. What we've since learned from the government and the security agency is that a bomb was hidden in a briefcase, which was placed by the bomber this morning at a desk at the entrance to the high court where people were cuing up to get their entry passes. The bomb went off at a quarter past ten in the morning, 15 minutes before the court was about to open. So there were lots of people, over 100 cuing up at this place. And so it seems that this bomb really was designed to cause a maximum amount of damage and a maximum amount of loss of life and a lot of injuries.

Werman: Right, and the heart of an area that is filled with government buildings as you say, hence the significance of targeting a courthouse. If a briefcase was posed in front of a government building, in front of a courthouse, I mean, India is no stranger to bombings and assassinations, how could this have been possible?

Dummett: Well, I suppose the government would say that you know, at least the bomber wasn't able to get inside the court. The bomb was placed before the security checks. The opposition political parties and security commentators have already come out as you'd expect and been very critical of the security agencies in the government because as you rightly said, Marco, India is no stranger to these sorts of attacks. Over the past decade or so there have been well over a dozen attacks on markets, and trains, hotels, and other government buildings. And in fact, the high court was attacked just in May. People knew that this was a potential target. You know, one of the questions that people are asking is why aren't there CCTV cameras watching over the entrance to the court? You know, India still doesn't have in place you know, despite huge numbers of security officials, and policemen and soldiers, it still doesn't have in place very sophisticated intelligence or security networks.

Werman: The US is facing, Mark, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as you know, this week, but as we saw today in India I mean, that country has been dealing with this kind of terror much longer. How do ordinary people in India adapt to living with terrorism?

Dummett: Well, you know, there's a fair degree of fatalism about it. You know, any time anybody goes into any market in Delhi or any government building of any sort at all, or onto the Metro, you pass through metal detectors and you have your bag searched. But those metal detectors often are switched off and the policemen are smoking a cigarette and looking the other way, and basically, don't bother really to check anything at all. And in a way that becomes a hassle for people and there's a degree of skepticism about the government's effort and the police's effort to be serious about preventing these sorts of attacks from taking place. You know, and I think that's what has really fed into their frustration about all this. People you know, people don't like that.

Werman: The BBC's Mark Dummett in Delhi.