Is Bombay Safe..?

July 15, 2006 New Delhi:Little-known outfit Lashkar-e-Qahhar tonight purportedly claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s serial blasts in Mumbai.

An e-mail, received by Aaj Tak news channel, said it was sent by Lashkar-e-Qahhar and the outfit was associated with al-Qaeda and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.

The e-mail said 16 Qahhar activists had carried out attacks in Mumbai and threatened to carry out more attacks if the Indian government does not stop the “exploitation of Kashmiri people”.

The same outfit had claimed responsibility for the bomb blasts in Varanasi in March this year.

7(8) Bomb blast: 11th July 2006
Seven blasts rocked suburban trains in Mumbai on Tuesday evening, Police Commissioner A N Roy has said. The police control room has reported that 174 passengers have been killed and more than 300 injured. PTI reports that the blasts took place in a span of 30 minutes in first class compartments of suburban trains.

As the blasts ripped apart train compartments, mangled bodies of passengers were hurled out and survivors, many of them bleeding profusely, jostled to come out, leading to chaotic scenes. The blasts occured between 6 pm and 6.30 pm at Matunga, Mahim (central Mumbai), Bandra, Khar (in north-west Mumbai), Borivili, Jogeshwari and Mira Road railway stations (in north Mumbai).

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. Commuters said an explosion went off in the men’s first class compartment on a Western Railway local, which left Churgate station in South Mumbai at 1754, as it was leaving Mahim station on track 3 at around 1820 hours.

The chronology of the seven bomb blasts that ripped through the seven suburban trains at various stations during the peak hour on Tuesday evening is as follows:

Khar — 1824 hrs
Bandra — 1824 hrs
Jogeshwari — 1825 hrs
Mahim — 1826 hrs
Mira Road — 1829 hrs
Matunga — 1830 hrs
Borivali — 1835 hrs

A fire brigade official who came on the scene later said he believes that more than 25 injured were removed from the bombed out compartment.

Advocate Chandrakant Dalvi, who was travelling to his home in Dahisar by this compartment, was sitting on the tracks in a daze when rediff.com’s reporters met him. He said he could not hear anything in his left ear. He had already got in touch with his relatives to say he was safe, but he had not told them that he was on the train. The fire brigade personnel were sending him to the nearest hospital for a check-up. He said he would take a cab and go home.

Around the tracks seat-cushioning material was lying around, among chappals and shoes and bags. Luggage removed from the compartment was lying on the other side.

Outside the station the road had been cordoned off and two fire engines were posted. But onlookers could view the wreckage from the footbridge and the road.

Two local trains were halted on either side of the bombed train and there was a rush of people leaving the station who were hitching rides home with lorries and tempos.

TV channel CNN-IBN was reporting that atleast 15 people were killed in the Matunga/Mahim blast.

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.

A PTI reporter at Santa Cruz station said a blast rocked a Borivali-bound local at 1824 hours, and seven to eight injured commuters jumped out of the speeding train in panic.

At least 10 bodies were brought to the KEM Hospital in central Mumbai, and another 20 seriously injured people were admitted to it.

A few more injured were reportedly taken to the government hospital at Sion in central Mumbai, Bhabha Hospital and V N Desai Hospital from the blast sites in western Mumbai suburbs, hospital sources said.

The 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.

Police suspect that it is a pre-planned subversive plot similar to the explosions that had rocked Mumbai in 1993, 2002 and 2003.

March 12, 1993.At 1:30 p.m.
A powerful car bomb exploded in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange building. The 28-story office building housing the exchange was severely damaged, and many nearby office buildings also suffered some damage. About 50 were killed by this explosion. About 30 minutes later, another car bomb exploded elsewhere in the city, and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. a total of 13 bombs exploded throughout Bombay. Most of the bombs were car bombs, but some were in scooters.

Three hotels, the Hotel Sea Rock, Hotel Juhu Centaur, and Hotel Airport Centaur, were targeted by suitcase bombs left in rooms booked by the perpetrators. Banks, the regional passport office, hotels, an airline office (the Air India Building), and a major shopping complex were also hit. Bombs exploded at Zaveri Bazar, Century Bazar, Katha Bazar, Shiv Sena Bhawan, and Plaza Theatre. A jeep-bomb at the Century Bazar exploded early, thwarting another attack. Grenades were also thrown at Sahar International Airport and at Fishermen’s Colony, apparently targeting Hindus at the latter. A double decker bus was very badly damaged in one of the explosions and that single incident accounted for the greatest loss of life – perhaps up to ninety people were killed.

Aftermath
The official number of dead was 257 dead with 1,400 others injured (some news sources say 317 people died; this is due to a bomb killing 60 in Calcutta on March 17). Several days later, unexploded car bombs were discovered at a railway station. Islamic terrorist groups based in Pakistan were suspected to be responsible for these bombings, and evidence uncovered pointed to the involvement of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Many hundreds of people, predominantly Muslim, have been arrested and detained in Indian courts and are undergoing or awaiting trial. So far, no convictions have resulted twelve years after the blasts

Blast in Ghatkopar in Mumbai, 4 killed and 32 injured
July 28, 2003 21:39 IST

Four persons were killed and 32 injured when a powerful blast ripped apart a BEST bus in Ghatkopar in northern Mumbai on Monday night. Two persons died on the spot.

Quoting the police, a PTI report said the blast was the result of a bomb, planted underneath a seat of the bus (route number 340), exploding. Police also said a dog squad and a bomb detection team had been rushed to the spot.

The rear part of the bus has taken the full impact of the blast, which occurred around 2115 IST.

More than ten years later, on August 25, 2003,
Two large bombs left in taxis exploded in south Mumbai – the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar in the busy Kalbadevi area – killing 52 people and wounding more than a hundred others. India blamed two Islamic militant groups, Jaish-e-Mohammed or Lashkar-e-Toiba, for the attacks. This is believed by some to be a response for the 2002 Gujarat riots which left more than 2,000 dead, mainly Muslims.

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