Da The Indian Express del 12/07/2006
Originale su http://www.indianexpress.com/story/8359.html

7/11, Mumbai. Seven blasts hit rush-hour local trains, 150 killed, over 600 injured; 8 die in Srinagar attacks

Terror Tuesday

Targets: First Class coaches, all on the Western Line, all in just 11 minutes

MUMBAI, JULY 11:Terror struck Mumbai’s lifeline seven times in 11 minutes when the first-class compartments of local trains to the city’s western suburbs were ripped apart by powerful blasts. At least 150 people were killed and over 600 injured.

The blasts occured between 6.24 and 6.35 pm at Mahim, Bandra, Matunga, Borivli, Mira Road, Jogeshwari and Khar.

The blasts came just hours after suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants killed eight people, six of them tourists, in a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar.

Railway traffic on the Western line—the busiest of the three lines used by commuters to travel to and from work—was at its peak, with lakhs returning home, when the bombs went off.

Till evening, no one had claimed responsibility for the blasts. To a question, Police Commissioner A N Roy said obviously a terrorist outfit would be behind the blasts because ‘‘a normal human being could not have done this’’.

‘‘Our investigators are on the job. But our priority is also to ensure that nothing untoward takes place as a result of the blast,’’ Roy told reporters.

The first blast occurred on a train between Khar and Santacruz stations, another at exactly the same time on a train near Bandra. These were followed by explosions on trains at Jogeshwari, Mahim, Mira Road, Matunga, Borivali and Mahim stations. All the blasts took place inside first-class compartments, ripping them apart.

Train services on the Western line were completely suspended, all trains leaving Mumbai stopped and a red alert sounded in the city and the rest of the state. All phones lines were choked.

Hospital authorities in the city confirmed the arrival of over 100 bodies by 8:30 pm, while an unconfirmed number of injured commuters were being treated in various government and private hospitals in various parts of the city. According to sources, RDX was been used in the improvised explosive devise (IED). The police have at least some clues about the two men who they suspect may have planted the explosives on the train which exploded at Borivali. A fair, young, wavy-haired with a straight nose and a slim youth wearing a checked shirt got into the Virar bound train at Bandra and got off in a hurry at the Andheri station. The police are making his sketch based on the description.

Another suspect, who got into the train at Dadar, wearing a police uniform. Sources said that it is an unusual time for a policeman to leave, as the duty does not get over at that time. ‘‘He may have disguised himself in police unifrm. His nameplate had Sawant written on it,’’ said a senior police official.

Heavy rain, barely an hour after the explosions, affected rescue operations. Locals and representatives of social and political organisations joined efforts to rush the injured to hospitals.

At Matunga station, the blast was so powerful that it not only ripped through the first class coach but also blew off a portion of the platform roof. Bodies were seen scattered on the tracks while many injured, some of them profusely bleeding, were attended to by fellow travellers on the platform before being rushed to nearby hospitals.

As the blasts ripped apart train compartments elsewhere, mangled bodies of passengers were hurled out and survivors, many of them bleeding profusely, jostled to come out.

Those injured at Santa Cruz station were taken to the nearby V N Desai hospital. Some were taken KEM hospital in Parel. Mumbai airport was put on high alert after the blasts, but flight operations were not affected.

Police suspect that it’s a pre-planned subversive plot similar to the explosions that had rocked Mumbai in 1993, 2002 and 2003. Since all the explosions took place when the trains were either getting into or leaving railway stations, investigators suspect that either the explosive devices were remote-controlled or timed ones.

Confusion and panic gripped commuters who got stuck after train services on the Western railway line were stopped. Police Commissioner urged people to use the Central Railway line.

The government also pressed into service additional buses, but the roads were choked till late evening.

This is the worst terrorist attack in Mumbai after the 1993 serial blasts which killed over 250 people.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reviewed the security situation in the wake of the blasts in mumbai and Srinagar. The specially-convened meeting at the Prime Minister’s Race Course Road residence was attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Home Secretary V K Duggal.

‘‘We will work to defeat the evil designs of terrorists and will not allow them to succeed,’’ Singh said in a statement read out by Patil after the meeting. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh appealed for peace and patience, claiming that the administration was fully geared up to meet such emergencies. ‘‘It is a result of a very big conspiracy,’’ Deshmukh said. ‘‘And the truth will come out after the high-level inquiry I have ordered into the blasts.’’

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