A bomb exploded inside a packed bakery in Pune, India on Saturday, killing at least nine people and wounding 45 in the country’s biggest terrorist attack since the 2008 Mumbai massacre. The bakery, located across from Pune’s Jewish Chabad House, is a known favorite of Jewish and European visitors. “The dead include some foreigners but we are yet to establish their nationality,” minister of state for home Ramesh Bagwe said. According to doctors, the injured suffer from burns and fractures.
The attack came just one day after India and Pakistan agreed to revive their four-year-old peace process. New Delhi suspended the talks following the Mumbai attacks, saying it would not have dialogue with Islamabad until Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani militant group responsible for the massacre, is brought to justice. However, on Friday, India offered to hold high-level talks, despite Islamabad’s reluctance to clamp down on the terrorist group.
When asked whether the explosion was linked to the Indo-Pakistan talks, Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said, “Forensic investigations have just begun. Till they are completed, we will not know who is (involved).” But according to Gopinath Munde, a senior Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party leader, “This again is an attack from Pakistan.” Indeed, senior internal security sources say the investigation’s focus has fallen on Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as a local militant group, the Indian Mujahideen. Both groups are fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan region.
The Indian American Republican Council (IARC) issued a statement immediately following the bombing condemning the terrorist attack. This latest attack “is yet another example of the global reach of international terrorism,” said IARC Chairman Dino Teppara. “An attack at a popular site near a Jewish Center that is frequented by tourists is meant to strike fear, damage India’s growing tourism sector and cause instability and uncertainty.” He continued, “Instead of creating fear, these attacks will only strengthen our resolve to fight back aggressively and destroy those who seek to use violence against innocent people.”