Varanasi, the holiest city of the Hindus with an unbroken history of thousands of years, became the latest target of Islamic terrorists on Tuesday, 7th March 2006.

The terrorists struck at two places- the first at a temple and the second at a railway station- and triggered three explosions that killed more than 20 innocent people and injured many.

The 400 year old temple was teeming with devotees who had come for evening worship when the first bomb went off. This was the third terrorist attack at a Hindu temple in recent years. Muslim terrorists struck at Akshardham temple in Ahmedabad on 25 September 2002, killing 39 people; a six member suicide squad tried to storm the Ramajanmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya on 5 July 2005 and got killed (a woman devotee who had sustained injuries died later).

The Varanasi blasts once again show how vulnerable India is. Islamic terrorists can strike at a place of their choice at will.

The timing of these latest attacks was calculated to deflate the general mood of self-satisfaction in the Indian establishment prompted by the high profile visit of the U.S. President and the much publicized nuclear deal the two countries have signed.

By targeting devotees inside a revered temple in Hinduism’s most sacred pilgrimage center the terrorists have inflicted another deep wound in the Hindu psyche, which will keep aflame animosity towards Muslims in the collective conscience of the Hindus.

The Islamic terrorists (controlled by their masters in Pakistan) have proven a point and exposed India’s vulnerability once again.

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