India probing bomb claim by Harkatul Jihad Islami

Published: September 7, 2011

Indian security personnel stand guard outside the Delhi High Court at the site of a bomb blast in New Delhi on September 7, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

Commandos use sniffer dogs to search for evidence near the site of a bomb blast outside the High Court in New Delhi September 7, 2011. A powerful bomb placed in a briefcase outside the High Court in New Delhi killed at least 10 people and wounded 47 on Wednesday, the deadliest attack in India in almost two months, prompting the government to put the capital on high alert.  REUTERS Indian security personnel stand guard outside the Delhi High Court at the site of a bomb blast in New Delhi on September 7, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

DELHI: A powerful bomb placed in a briefcase outside the High Court in New Delhi killed at least 11 people and wounded 76 on Wednesday in an attack authorities said was claimed by a South Asian militant group linked to al Qaeda.

The bomb dug a crater three to four feet deep near the main reception counter where passes are issued for lawyers and visitors to enter the sprawling sandstone building before the main security checkpoint.

Authorities said the Harkatul Jihad Islami (HUJI) militant group — an al Qaeda affiliate with bases in Pakistan and Bangladesh — had sent an email claiming responsibility.

Ilyas Kashmiri, who US authorities believe was recently killed in Pakistan, was the head of HUJI and a senior al Qaeda member.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on an official visit to Bangladesh, the first visit by an Indian premier in 12 years.

In an email to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the group called on India to repeal the death sentence of a man convicted in connection with an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 and warned it would otherwise target major courts in the country.

“That mail has to be looked at very seriously because HUJI is a very prominent terrorist group among whose targets India is one,” NIA chief SC Sinha told reporters.

The blast comes as security has been stepped up at key locations as parliament is in session.

It also comes less than two months after near-simultaneous triple bomb attacks in India’s financial hub Mumbai killed 24. No one has claimed responsibility for those attacks.

“I was near the gate at that time,” said lawyer KK Gautam of Wednesday’s attack. “There was an orderly queue when a loud blast occurred. I saw many injured and dead. I saw 20-25 injured and around 10 dead.”

The court building compound is in a leafy, usually tranquil and upscale part of the city. The outside gate is usually manned by a handful of policemen armed with automatic rifles and hand-held scanners.

Lawyers in black suits and starched white collars stood around shocked on one of the busiest days of the week when the court hears public interest petitions.

About 120 soldiers, police and bomb squad specialists were at the scene, with ambulances whisking the injured away to hospitals.

Television images showed scores of lawyers running from one of the main gates of the building just after the explosion amid rubble and chaotic scenes. Police cordoned off the area, not far from parliament and the prime minister’s office.

“I think I saw this guy (suspect). He was in white, aged 34 or 35, carrying a briefcase and jumping the long queue,” an unnamed middle-aged man told Indian television channels.

“There must have been some 80 people at that time when the bomb went off. I crouched immediately but the man behind me, he did not and was hit (by shrapnel) to his right arm.”

Security questions

The blast will renew concern about the authorities’ ability to prevent attacks, particularly in sensitive, high-risk areas.

“This is a glaring example of the shortage of intelligence, both human and technical — something if we had had we could have prevented these attacks,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director at the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi.

Two lawyers at the court, Namita Roy, 48, and Hargovina Jah, 40, told Reuters the scanner and metal detector at Gate 5 of the court where the blast occurred were not working.

“This is definitely a big security lapse on the part of the police. For example, yesterday even the (body) scanner was not working. The security, more or less, is very weak, especially in view of the blast that happened a few months ago,” said Roy.

The blast outside the court, seen as a high profile but soft target, comes at a time when the judiciary is in sharp focus for nudging the government to act on issues ranging from corruption to the environment.

Ruling Congress party politicians have over the past year criticised the Supreme Court for overstepping its authority and intervening in executive functions. The Supreme Court is the highest court in India. The High Court is the court of appeal at state or provincial level.

“So an attack on such a target will bring you the maximum mileage,” said independent strategic analyst Maj Gen. Ashok Mehta. “Also, notice that this comes just days before 9/11, so the government should have expected something like this.”

Several bomb attacks in large Indian cities in recent years have been tied to the Indian Mujahideen, said to have support from Pakistan-based militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

In May, a low-intensity blast outside the same High Court in Delhi triggered panic but injured no one.

Pakistan-based militants attacked Mumbai in coordinated assaults that killed 166 people in 2008, raising tensions with Pakistan.

Singh and his government came under intense criticism over the handling of those attacks. The government promised a radical overhaul of the security apparatus in India but critics say the reforms have been inadequate and in some cases abandoned.

Forensic evidence initially showing nitrate based explosives with possible traces of pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), a powerful high explosive, a senior home ministry official said.

Sketches of two suspects have been released to the public.

Lawyers in shock

“I think I saw this guy (suspect). He was in white, aged 34 or 35, carrying a briefcase and jumping the long queue,” an unnamed middle-aged man told Indian television channels.

“There must have been some 80 people at that time when the bomb went off. I crouched immediately but the man behind me, he did not and was hit (by shrapnel) to his right arm.”

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Reader Comments (54)

  • from india
    Sep 7, 2011 - 11:32AM

    damn !!

    Recommend

  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:03PM

    India and Pakistan face the same threat from the same enemy. This fact has been testified by what has happened today in New Dehli Hight Court and in Quetta Pakistan. They should fight this war jointly till ultimate victory. But the problem is that some forces in Pakistan, including our Army, are not willing to take this war to its logical end.

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  • narayana murthy
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:06PM

    Utter failure of security and intelligence.

    UPA II is turning out to be one of the worst governments ever.

    The only saving grace would be if they honestly implement Jan Lok Pal with all the good intentions in their hearts.

    Recommend

  • Rsingh
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:14PM

    Seems like a warning shots to judicary,so that they go easy of latest corruption cases. Looks like MMS and Congress getting inspired by our western neighbour where in these things are norm.Recommend

  • Rock
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:39PM

    Cowards! hey terrorist can’t you fight face to face with Indian Army. RIP to all victims. To all my brothers make India stronger. To all pak brothers who post sympathies thanks alot we appreciate your support.

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  • Kashif
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:45PM

    So sad !!!!

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  • Rock
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:54PM

    Dear ET, please post delhi high court picture not mumbai blast picture. Kindly change the picture.

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  • Rock
    Sep 7, 2011 - 12:54PM

    @ET thanks for correcting the picture.

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  • bashir
    Sep 7, 2011 - 1:10PM

    very unfortunate .India and Pakistan should sit together to take joint action against such elements. My sympathies with the families of the dead and the injured.

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  • SK
    Sep 7, 2011 - 1:32PM

    The terrorists already struck Mumbai previously, now they have struck your high court. Wake up India. Stop focusing on Pakistan. Save your country before terrorists take hold of it

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  • Paras Vikmani
    Sep 7, 2011 - 1:48PM

    India on course to be next Iraq,Afghanistan and Pakistan thanks to Congress.

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  • Arindom
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:04PM

    the Italian and half-Italians at the top and their policy of appeasement is responsible for this

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  • narayana murthy
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:06PM

    Pakistan based terror outfit HUJI has claimed responsibility.

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  • Rahul Singh
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:09PM

    @SK: without focusing on Pakistan terrorism can’t be fought, source lies there

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  • Aryabhat
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:23PM

    This blasts are thanks to weakness of Indian political class. Indian Police and armed forces are capable enough. 2 months happened to Mumbai blasts and what is the outcome of investigations? Zilch!

    As for HUJI, well, I wish them well for waking up Indian ruling class, if this blast them actually wake up. If not, at least the voters seem to have woken up and next Govt in 2 years time may not be so patient and tolerant (or lazy, should I say?) line current one.

    If this is in response to India and Bangladesh cozying up as per current summit going on between two PMs, this may be a learning lesson for Pakistan and all others. With or without Pakistan, and even with terror blackmail in form of HUJI, India is sorting out its eatern side – Bangladesh, Indian, Bhutan and Nepal will now have direct connectivity and more investments would follow. With trade concessions from India and open access, that region is set to grow by 7%+ economic growth rate.

    About time for Pakistan to join the prosperity club rather then be a spoiler state!

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  • anil
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:23PM

    @SK
    we don’t foucs on pak .We are more focused to our goal to become a powerful nation.We are a resilient society,the more u attack ,the more will we develope.Recommend

  • Incredible
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:26PM

    I am sad for the loss of human life.

    HuJI has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:29PM

    Some good suggestions regarding joint operations against the terrorists.

    Indian govt. would grab such a proposal with both hands, if it comes from Pakistani army.

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  • John
    Sep 7, 2011 - 2:32PM

    As an indian, i always doubted pakistan for anything happening in india.. But this incident has made it sure that its not pakistan anymore.. I am starting to feel that there is someone’s else who doesn’t want india and pakistan as friends.. Hats off to congress…. One useless crap of india..

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  • Incredible
    Sep 7, 2011 - 3:07PM

    Time to take action against the source.

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  • sajid
    Sep 7, 2011 - 3:07PM

    well, not astonishing from India to attack on the Tehrek-e- Azadi movement Jammat. India having lot of Azadi movements in their own country so they firstly check them and than claim otherz.

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  • Sultan
    Sep 7, 2011 - 3:15PM

    Another sad day for ppl of India & Pakistan.
    God help us!

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  • FARHAN
    Sep 7, 2011 - 3:27PM

    This is another incident which reminds us that until Pakistan and India colloborate sincerely, these outfits would continue to attack innocent people.

    I dont know whether it is Al qaeda, TTP, or any lashkar, the fact of the matter is that both government should wake up and do something for sake of 1.5 billion ppl of this region.

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  • miken
    Sep 7, 2011 - 3:54PM

    dont compare pakistan with india pakistan has blast every day india has only 3 blast in last 3 yrs..so plz aap india pakistan ko compare na kre…jai shri ram..

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  • Nurmomad
    Sep 7, 2011 - 3:55PM

    The enemy is common. The resolve has to be one.

    RIP the innocent people killed in Delhi and Quetta.

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  • Umer Farooq
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:00PM

    This is a fact that both the nations have been looking after terrorists in their laps. See Ajmals, one Qasab and the other one Paharhi. Both spoke of their trainings they took across the border.
    i would blame the governments, not only here but in India also…
    why dont you ppl stop putting your feet into others shoes…??
    Leave Afghanistan and Kashmir to their own people and let their residents decide their fate…

    Recommend

  • TruthSeeker
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:06PM

    Now all these indian commentators on our national news website will start saying maybe Pakistan did it… or maybe Pakistani agents… or maybe Pakistani alients?

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  • Dinesh
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:18PM

    Parliament Condemns Terror Attack as Usual, People of India Strongly Condemns Useless Parliamentarians.

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  • narayana murthy
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:22PM

    @Umer Farooq, who says “This is a fact that both the nations have been looking after terrorists in their laps. See Ajmals, one Qasab and the other one Paharhi. Both spoke of their trainings they took across the border.”

    There’s a huge difference – Paharhi is a Pakistani national.

    A Pakistani national captured in Pakistan by Pakistani authorities, claiming that he got trained in India is insane.

    It’s like YOU, sitting in YOUR home, claiming to YOUR wife that, the window of YOUR house, which YOU broke last week, was prompted by your neighbor.

    Your wife will immediately call you a liar.

    You also say “Leave Afghanistan and Kashmir to their own people and let their residents decide their fate…”

    Good idea, the separatists should leave Kashmir to Hindus and perhaps go to pakistan (IF THEY DARE!!!)Recommend

  • Manoj
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:25PM

    Recent wikileaks report says, that Kashmiri separatist are getting money from both India and Pakistan and buying properties in Gulf countries and we Indian and Pakistanis are bleeding our two countries to retain or snatch Kashmir.
    All the problem between india and Pakistan has roots in Kashmiri politician and global arms dealer. They will never allow to settle the Kasmir problem and kill their golden goose.
    Time has come for India and pakistan to solve the Kashmir problem on status quo basis. There is know other viable option. Let the good sense prevail on both sides and we get rid of this problem for ever.Recommend

  • MD
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:29PM

    This is the worst government in the recent memory. First series of corruption scandals and now two bomb blasts with in a span of less than four months. The UPA government is led by an impotent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia and her group, it has lost the people’s mandate to stay in power any longer.
    The Home Minister Chidambaram must resign.Recommend

  • Sep 7, 2011 - 4:41PM

    One, two or three blasts will not change the fortunes of India, but Pakistan is sinking into a black hole. Recommend

  • Indian Rehman Malik
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:46PM

    @TruthSeeker: The culprits swam from the Port of Karachi via the Arabian sea and travelled to Mumbai. They wore Pakistani shalwar kameez which resembled Star Wars outfits.Recommend

  • Afaq
    Sep 7, 2011 - 4:49PM

    @Nurmomad: Great thought that enemy is common Lets think all like this. Issues will be soon resolved.

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  • from india
    Sep 7, 2011 - 5:01PM

    Umer Farooq – Afghan govt. wants India to be there …so whats your problem ? Regarding Kashmir, first ask Pakistan to leave then talk about India.

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  • Sep 7, 2011 - 5:14PM

    @FARHAN:
    Dear I agree but will those who survive and earn their living from this conflict let this happen ever.

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  • Manish Bathla
    Sep 7, 2011 - 6:06PM

    Congress involved ….. Reply to the visit of Hina Rabbani Khar ….. Sonia Gandhi dont want any peace in this region, some italian propaganda.

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  • Ali
    Sep 7, 2011 - 6:37PM

    India should hand over Kashmir to Pakistan
    today,tommorow,next week your choice

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  • Reality bites
    Sep 7, 2011 - 7:00PM

    If we compare both Indian and pakistani blasts today, I can say that both Indian and pakistani politicians are incompetents.Recommend

  • swet ji anand
    Sep 7, 2011 - 7:30PM

    this is pathetic. both nation have failed to provide a secure and good life to its citizens. we should stand together and condemn it strongly, it is a high time, for both side of people, to sit together and think, where we are going? i am a very optimistic person although you can say me a day-dreamer but a time will come when this siamese twins will move toward a single goal and stand together at international stage for a common cause. god bless India-Pakistan relation. god bless peoples of south Asia.

    guys, please………………… stop blame game. Hate never brings anything good for anybody.

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  • Rock
    Sep 7, 2011 - 7:39PM

    @Ali: Good joke. Recommend

  • Pak-Bro
    Sep 7, 2011 - 7:51PM

    Just like a swore on a vital organ in a human body over years of neglect develop permanent ailment and unknown symptoms so does an unsolved political issue to a nation. A stitch-in-time saves nine_ Note: It also saves the pocket on that shirt, the sleeve, the dignity, any cold/flu or even a death by pneumonia he caught from that ripped enlarged gap in the shirt. I say join forces with neighbors not a blame game. If any nation can solve matters by themselves we should be master of that from the brains and patience and history we have together and the future at stake. We can’t change your neighbors that you destiny, neither can we change our past but we sure can work on what present. I say to make it solvable we must simply make it a “hypothetical” family problem by giving names of countries to certain relative of a family who lives on his own and but who we have resentment against. He then along with other siblings miss the home but due to the speed and size of seismic movements there is no going back. Once we understand the problem correctly we have solved the problem halfway already. All we have to do is be persistent and optimistic. Ofcourse also hold our politicians back from trying gaining local ground for elections or small time stubborn but poor pushcart owners to start making a living out of the situation. Lets start by making a neighborhood slogan for peace and prosperity that stress opportunity for all and hatred for none.

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  • Bangash
    Sep 7, 2011 - 8:24PM

    Regrettable terrorist incident in india.

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  • BruteForce
    Sep 7, 2011 - 8:54PM

    They can kill people but they cant stop the growth of India. India will not bow down, its too vast, too powerful.

    Pakistan on the other hand has to shut these Terrorist groups down. Till yesterday TTP were allies, today they are enemies. Till yesterday LeJ were supported, today they kill Pakistan. Till yesterday HuJI was worth ignoring, today they attack Karachi Naval base and destroy Pakistani planes.

    Pakistan is really vulnerable here as it is not a Democracy unlike India and is prone to instability. Hope it realizes that targeting Terrorists is a painful thing to do, but has to be done.

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  • Phajja
    Sep 7, 2011 - 10:15PM

    @Rahul Singh:
    terrorism is a Phenomenon of India and its terrorist establishment. Do you remember Golden Temple demolition “FAKE SINGH”? Who did it? Pakistan? Or who killed Indra Gandhi? Pakistan? In both cases it’s either Indian State terrorist machinery OR Sikh terrorists Against Indra? Which explanation would you like to consider? Or What happened on the street of Delhi by the Hand of Hindu terrorist Mobs to the Sikhs , was also done by Pakistan. Reality is that You and your State is a sponsor of domestic as well as International terrorism. Go take oath not to do it again else World Focus is already on your Hindu rears, for the 2000 mass graves in Kashmir.

    @Bangash:
    I don’t thin that These terrorists needs our sympathies. What sympathies do Pakistanis get for Blasts in Pakistan, recent of Which was in Quetta in which these terrorists are involved. have you received any Sympathies from these terrorists? No. Then Why It’s your duty to do that. Treat them in the same manner as they treat others. Now, they have found within minutes an Islamic group on which these terrorists going to fix this blame. Next time any Blast that happens anywhere in the world , fix that on these terrorist state.
    They can never be friends of neither Pakistan or Pakistanis. I simply do not waste my time on them. I advice everyone do the same. Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Sep 7, 2011 - 10:18PM

    @Ali.

    Let’s make it next life or the day Pakistan breaks down. Whichever takes place first.

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  • Zain Kamran
    Sep 7, 2011 - 10:24PM

    HUJI . ? :S
    I am a Pakistani, and i personally feel for such incidents. My condolences for the victims of Delhi and Quetta.
    This blast and this ‘ new ‘ huji pooji is directed towards savaging Indo-Pak relations once again.
    Same terrorists with a new name.. thats it!
    My India brothers, just know that we both share a common enemy. ‘ America ‘.

    Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 7, 2011 - 10:45PM

    Harkatul Jihad Islami is a new name of Harkatul Ansar, this organisation was created,funded,trained and armed by USA and Saudi Arabia in Pakistan in early 80s and it is totally depended on them till to date.

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  • Anjum
    Sep 8, 2011 - 1:38AM

    @Zain Kamran:
    Absolutely correct. Imagine for a moment it is the CIA, MI6, Mossad etc who are operating through this Al Qaida, HUJI or god knows which other groups they make over a hot cop of coffee etc ? Of course through local stupid, poor and angry people – and perhaps with help from local agencies ISI, RAW ….
    Its all a drama, and S.Asia is the scene of the “New Great Game”. Its quite logical in fact, no low life criminal is so “online” and has such fast communication as these terror groups. And they are so quickly connected with the media. How?of course only way is if the organisation is at level as a powerful spy agency like CIA.
    All western forreigners are obliged to help their agencies so potentially all of them are informants or observers to their own country.
    Pak Zindabad. Spread this truth to all, then we can engage with neo-colonials at their level.

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  • Anjum
    Sep 8, 2011 - 1:46AM

    @Phajja:
    Condolences with the families who have lost their love ones, inshallah, they will get to a better life beyond. But agree with you, there are bigger agency powers in play here doing all this kind of stuff. Our house in Pak is in chaos but inshallah we will get out stronger and give these hidden powers tit for tat at their own home soil. Pak Zindabad.

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  • Anjum
    Sep 8, 2011 - 1:50AM

    @syed baqar ahsan:
    Im surprised that our own agencies cannot protect or expose the CIA plots? Bring them to the media and people in Pak so people knows and understand. But guess pak intelligences is weak and no match to western and other big power agencies. Although they think they are. Sad.

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  • BruteForce
    Sep 8, 2011 - 11:28AM

    @Pakistanis,

    Thanks for the condolences but stop blaming America. Accept the reality. HuJI is a Pakistani/Bangladesh based group of radical Islamists. They derive support from Pakistan and partly from Bangladesh.

    Stop blaming America.

    The day you accept this, the first step against Terrorism and Radicalism would’ve been won.

    As someone inaccurately pointed out, America is NOT our enemy. Our enemies are Illiteracy, poverty, etc.

    Recommend

  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 8, 2011 - 3:28PM

    @ Ali

    how about 25,000 AD?

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  • gregory
    Sep 9, 2011 - 6:51AM

    @Ali:
    where is ‘none of these’, or ‘question is invalid’ options??

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