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.