Mumbai train blasts: ‘Guru Poornima’ turns into ‘Gory Amavasya’

July 11, 2006

Up to seven blasts have rocked Bombay’s commuter rail network, ripping apart train compartments and reportedly injuring dozens. Hundreds of people returning home are feared dead, many more injured. All the explosions took place in the first class compartments of trains at a time when a majority of Mumbaikars were returning home from office. One television channel showed more than half-a-dozen injured people near the site of another blast in the Khar suburban station of Mumbai. One badly injured person lying near railway tracks was carried away by people using a long sheet of cloth.

Dazed survivors were shown with wounds from injuries to heads, legs and hands on the railway station with little sign of any emergency medical aid. All local phones, including mobile services, in the city had jammed apparently due to congestion in the system as anxious people tried to reach their loved ones.

Police officials said two more explosions took place in the Santa Cruz and Mahim suburbs of the city. CNN-IBN reported a fifth blast had taken place but there was no official confirmation. However, Anil Singh, of the Times of India newspaper told BBC World there were 10 dead from seven explosions. Indian television news channels broadcast images of the wounded sprawled on train tracks and being carried through stations, and The Press Trust of India news agency reported six blasts along the city’s commuter rail network, which is among the most crowded in the world. Reuters said there had been at least four blasts. Rediff.com’s Syed Firdaus Ashraf, who was at Mahim railway station soon after reports of the blast came in, said he could see one train compartment was completely blown up in the explosion, and people were carrying bodies away. Bombay, India’s financial center, and New Delhi, the capital, were reportedly on high alert.

The Western Railway has suspended its suburban services soon after the blasts. Local telephone lines were jammed as panic-stricken commuters called their near and dear ones to alert them of the blasts. Commuters said there was no sign of the police even 30 minutes after the blasts.

The Mumbai blasts came just hours after suspected Islamist militants killed seven people, six of them tourists, in a series of grenade attacks in Indian Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, which according to the police is the most concerted targeting of civilians in months.

The Mumbai police have cordoned off all railway stations on the Western line and strict frisking and checking was being carried out at the Central and Harbour sections of local train services.
Mumbai, a metropolis of about 17 million, has been hit by a series of bomb blasts in the past decade. More than 250 people died in a string of bomb explosions in Bombay in 1993 for which authorities blamed the city’s underworld criminal gangs.

More reports awaited.

5 Responses to “Mumbai train blasts: ‘Guru Poornima’ turns into ‘Gory Amavasya’”

  1. Vani Says:

    Bellur,

    India mele “Dushta Graha” Prabhaava aagide ansathe… first it was failure of Agni, then INSAT 4C, then Mumbai, then Srinagar. Hope the list does not continue any further.

    Maybe yenaadru Industrial Grade Shanti/Homa /Pooje maadi devarannu oliskobekeno…

  2. RK Says:

    Vani: Maybe, that should be done.

    Yesterday’s awful rush-hour bombings of trains in Bombay raise an important and ominous question: How far can India be pushed?

    Mumbai is no stranger to violence. In August 2003, more than 55 people died in twin bomb blasts in the city’s financial district. And in 1993, some 250 people died and nearly 1,000 were injured in a series of bomb blasts which rocked the city. Both attacks were said to have carried out by Islamic militants allegedly at the behest of Mumbai’s criminal underworld. They were believed to be reprisal attacks in response to religious violence elsewhere (read Godhra) in India in which Muslims had been targeted.

    It is still not clear who is behind these latest bombings and certainly investigators will be puzzled over the motive. Earlier on Tuesday, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir witnessed a series of grenade attacks carried out by suspected separatist militants. It is unlikely that the two are related although India’s security agencies will certainly look for any links.

    But perhaps the closest related event took place last year, when the Indian capital Delhi was also rocked by a series of blasts. As in Mumbai, it was ordinary Indians who were targeted in a series of blasts which took place in congested markets and shopping areas where the impact was the greatest.

    Mumbai is India’s commercial capital and its rail network is often described as the city’s lifeline. Two major lines cut through the city, running north to south, bringing in commuters from distant suburbs. An attack on the rail network does not merely affect a large number of people, it is also designed to bring the city to a halt.

    Tuesday’s blasts took place on the city’s Western Line which connects the city centre with some of the more affluent suburbs. The victims of the attacks cut across the city’s ethnic, religious and class lines affecting both blue and white collar workers.

    Even as investigators piece through the wreckage at the bomb sites, searching for leads, it is quite evident that the explosives used were both sophisticated and powerful. And the co-ordinated nature of the blasts, occurring in near succession, speak of a degree of organisation that few can command.

  3. raj Says:

    The heading is really a good one!

  4. RK Says:

    raj: Thank you.

  5. Mahesh Says:

    Requesting Anil Singh of the Times of India to contact me if he remembers me. Thanks.


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