NEW DELHI: India said on Wednesday a home-grown group with ties to Pakistani militants was behind a bomb attack in one of its holiest cities, and local media reported two people were questioned over the attack.
Home Secretary Gopal Pillai said traces of explosives were found at the site of Tuesday evening's blast in the northern city of Varanasi that killed a two-year old girl and injured 37 Hindu worshippers and foreign tourists.
Pillai said it was "too premature" to say if individuals or groups operating from Pakistan were involved in the blast, which he said was set off by the Indian Mujahideen, a local group India says has been trained by militants based in Pakistan, including the Lashkar-i-Taiba.
The group also claimed the attack in an email sent to local media.
"It is a terror attack. The Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility," Pillai, the top bureaucrat in the interior ministry, told Reuters.
"The investigation is focusing on the clues we have, on suspicious characters who stayed in hotels there (Varanasi)."
No one has been arrested or detained, RP Singh, a senior police officer said in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state where Varanasi is located. But local media said police in Mumbai had questioned two people over the email.
The Indian Mujahideen has in the past claimed several attacks, including the 2008 bombings in the tourist city of Jaipur that killed 63 people and a September 2010 gun attack on a tourist bus outside New Delhi's main mosque.
Local media said the Indian Mujahideen, in the email claiming the attack, said the blast was carried out against a court verdict over the Babri mosque site that gave two-thirds of the land to Hindu groups. The blast came a day after the 18th anniversary of the razing of the mosque.