Pune blast kills 9
A bomb ripped through a restaurant popular with tourists in the western Indian city of Pune late Saturday, killing nine people and casting a shadow over the resumption of Indo-Pakistan peace talks.
Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai said earlier reports that a foreigner was among the dead had yet to be confirmed, but added that four Iranians, two Sudanese, one Taiwanese, one German and two Nepalese were among 57 people injured.
It was the first major attack on Indian soil since the November 2008 Mumbai massacre -- blamed on the banned, Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba -- which prompted New Delhi to suspend dialogue with Islamabad.
The South Asian rivals had agreed just last week to resume talks, and the Pune blast triggered immediate opposition calls for that decision to be reviewed.
"What was being targeted was a soft target where both foreigners and Indians, especially young people, congregate," India's Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters Sunday after visiting the blast site and the wounded in hospital.
The bomb, apparently left under a table in a backpack, went off in the German Bakery -- a popular eatery in the Koregaon Park area of the city -- at about 7:30 pm (1400 GMT).
An unnamed waiter, injured in the blast, told the NDTV 24x7 news channel from his hospital bed that he alerted his manager after seeing an unaccompanied red and black bag.
"My employer told me to go find out who it belonged to. While I was on my way, someone outside asked for water. It was while I was getting the bottles that the bomb went off," he said.
"The men and women sitting there all died," he added.
Another eyewitness described a scene of carnage, with body parts littered around the immediate site of the blast.
"There is no German Bakery anymore," he said "There were bodies everywhere. We tried to help carry them into the ambulances."
All Indian states have been put on high alert, while The Telegraph newspaper in the eastern city of Kolkata said security would be increased for Sunday's India-South Africa cricket Test match.
Pune, a key education hub with a growing IT industry, is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) southeast of Mumbai and the blast carried echoes of the deadly 2008 attack on India's financial capital by 10 Islamist gunmen, in which 166 people were killed.
The German Bakery is only 200 yards (183 metres) from an ashram, or religious retreat, specialising in meditation courses run by a Swiss-based firm Osho International.
David Headley, a US-Pakistani national awaiting trial in the United States for allegedly scouting out possible targets in the Mumbai attacks, is believed to have stayed in the ashram on a trip to Pune, the government said.
Headley, 49, has pleaded not guilty to 12 terrorism-related charges and remains in custody in Chicago.
The bakery was also close to Chabad House, a Jewish cultural and religious centre run by the orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement whose members were targeted in the Mumbai attacks.
"Chabad House was surveyed by David Headley," said Chidambaram. "It's premature to say whether this particular incident is related to that.
"We will have to wait for the investigation to find out who was behind it... We are ruling out nothing. We are ruling in nothing."
Prakash Jawadekar, a spokesman for the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, said the government should now reconsider the resumption of talks with Pakistan, which has been scheduled for February 25.
"Terror and talks cannot go together" Jawadekar told reporters after visiting the blast site in Pune.