Tuesday, July 11, 2006 (Mumbai):
At least 172 people have been killed in the series of blasts that rocked Mumbai on Tuesday.
Seven blasts took place on different railway stations in the city.
The first blast was reported at Bhayandar station near Mira Road at 6:09 pm (IST) in a local train, which left several people injured.
The second blast was reported at Jogeshwari station, while the third blast took place at Mahim.
Soon after, the fourth explosion took place at Santacruz, while the fifth blast was reported at Khar. The sixth blast was reported from Matunga station.
The seventh explosion was at Borivali, which is where another bomb was also defused, averting yet another blast.
Police suspect that it is a pre-planned subversive plot similar to the explosions that had rocked Mumbai in 1993, 2002 and 2003.
All suburban and long-distance trains on the Western railway lines were suspended.
Police have also cordoned off the major road intersections, railway stations and exit points.
Many commuters were stranded after the explosions and additional buses have been deployed in Mumbai to cope with the situation.
"Our priority is to ensure that nothing untoward takes place as a result of the blast," said Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy.
The blasts were targeted at commuters in the suburbs. It took place in the first class coaches during rush hour.
Mumbai airport has been put on alert and the trains from Mumbai to Gujarat have also been cancelled.
The other trains that stand cancelled are the Lok Shanti Express, Aravali Express, Awadh Express, Jaipur Superfast, Bandra-Bhavnagar Express, Gujarat Mail, Bombay Central-Indore Superfast, Golden Temple and the Surashtra Mail.
Local trains between Churchgate and Mahalaxmi and that between Borivali and Vasai, however, have resumed.
Some of the injured have been taken to Lilavati hospital while others have been taken to Cooper and Hinduja hospitals.
Many others have also been admitted to KEM Hospital, V N Desai Hospital and Bhabha Hospital.
The Home Ministry has said that the terror attacks have been planned. High intensity explosives have been used in the attack.
In its wake, a countrywide alert has been sounded. The police will be verifying the nature of blasts.
The IB is probing the link between the blasts at Srinagar and Mumbai, and also looking at possible link with PoK polls.
However, Home Secretary VK Duggal has said that there is no link between the blasts in the two cities.
The Mumbai police were also probing links between the Mumbai blasts and the seizures of two suspected Lashker-e-Taiba modules early this year.
However, LeT has denied any hand in the incident. "We condemn Srinagar, Mumbai blasts," said their spokesperson.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also reviewed the security situation in the wake of the series of bomb blasts in Mumbai and Srinagar.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Home Secretary V K Duggal attended the specially convened meeting in New Delhi.
After an hour-long emergency meeting, Patil read out a statement by the Prime Minister.
"The series of blasts in Jammu and Kashmir and in Mumbai are shocking and cowardly attempts to spread a feeling of fear and terror among our citizens," said the statement.
"My heart reaches out and grieves for all those affected by these blasts and who have lost their near and dear. I condemn these shameful acts aimed at our peace loving people," it added.
President A P J Abdul Kalam termed the blasts in Jammu and Kashmir and Mumbai as "inhuman".
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock over the blasts. She visited those injured in the blast and inquired about their condition.
She was accompanied by Union home Minister Shivraj Patil and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The three leaders then left for Matunga station, scene of one of the seven blasts on the suburban line of Western railway.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, however, has said leaders should not rush to Mumbai as it will hamper relief work.
"Speedy relief work will bring Mumbai back to normal. There should be more buses to ferry injured," he added.
Targeting UPA govt
BJP leader LK Advani on the other hand, has said that the UPA government is soft on terrorists.
"In the last few days, BJP has reiterated that the country under the regime of the present UPA government, is facing a big threat of terrorism, naxalism and many others. Due to the policies of the central government, the country is in danger," said Advani.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has announced a compensation of Rs one lakh for the relatives of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
He also appealed to people to maintain calm and not venture out unless required.
Railways Minister Lalu Prasad also paid a visit to hospital and announced Rs five lakh compensation and a job to the next of kin of those killed in the blasts.
He said the government would also foot the bill of the treatment of the injured.(With PTI inputs)