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Mumbai Bombed Again Serial blasts target crowded trading areas, Zaveri Bazaar hit for the third time since 1993

Updated: July 30, 2011 2:44 pm

In less than 32 months of mounting a dare devil attack on Mumbai, Pakistan sponsored terrorists on Wednesday indulged in a cowardice act by triggering serial bomb blasts in crowded trading areas of the metropolis killing at least 17 innocent people and injuring 131 including 23 seriously.

The death toll is set to rise. 26 injured have been discharged after first aid. Terrorists targeted the gold and diamond hubs of Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House localities in South Mumbai and Dadar in central Mumbai which are thickly populated.

The three blasts occurred within 10 minutes in the evening peak hour and the timing was significant to cause maximum damage to create a sense of fear among the masses. All the bombs were triggered through Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and ammonium nitrate has been used in the bombs according to Mumbai police.

The first blast took place at Khau Gali in Zaveri Bazaar at 6.54 pm when diamond traders crowded eating joints to have a bite before heading back home. The IED was placed on a motorcycle. A minute after another blast went off at Opera House in the close vicinity killing several people on the spot. The device was placed in a ditch on the road next a building near the Opera House. The third blast in this series took place at Kabutarkhana in Dadar West at 07.04 pm and the bomb was planted atop a bus stop shelter. The device was put inside an electrical box.

According to eyewitnesses the explosions were deafening and soon the areas were filled with thick smoke, rubbles and wailings of victims. As bodies of the dead remained scattered, the injured were carried to nearby hospitals by the locals by whatever means they had access to including tempos, hand carts and even motor cycles.

Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik said that the blast was triggered through a well coordinated attempt and the culprits would be brought to book at the earliest. The city has been sealed to prevent the escape of the assailants. The police have also taken possession of an unexplored bomb that was hidden under an umbrella at Zaveri Bazaar. This is an IED and attached with a battery.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram who rushed to Mumbai to take control of the situation refused to confirm the terror group behind the attack. “Every terror group was a suspect at this point in time and the police have been told not to rule out any angle before investigations,” Chidambaram said. He denied media reports that the intelligence agencies had prior information of the blasts. He also denied that anyone had been arrested in this connection.

The Home Minister said that a massive probe was on to find leads into the terror strike with all the agencies working in coordination. He said all cities in India are vulnerable to terrorist attacks as India has a troubled neighbourhood, the most dangerous anywhere in the world. He was referring to Pakistan and Afghanistan and the state sponsored terrorism by the former.

This is the third time that the Zaveri Bazaar has been targeted. The first being in 1993 when a bomb put inside a scooter could not blast and the second time in August 2003 that killed over a dozen people. Analysts believe that Gujarati community is deliberately targeted as most diamond and bullion traders are from this community.

Teams from the National Investigating Agency (NIA) have collected forensic evidence from the locations. Special officials from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL) in Hyderabad and Delhi are also handling the case, Mumbai police officials said. The Centre despatched forensic and bomb experts in a special plane to Mumbai within hours of the blasts. Chidambaram said teams of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory from Delhi and Hyderabad were being sent to Mumbai.

The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the dead and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. It said it is doing its best to provide solace to the families of the victims. But opposition parties are not pleased. They have accused the government for compromising in law and order to protect its vote bank. Several protests were organised in Mumbai to highlight the government’s apathy.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi while speaking to a section of the media expressed apprehension that the Mumbai serial bomb blasts could be in preparation for a bigger terror attack in the country. Modi urged the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre to deal with such elements in an iron hard.

Despite tough measure taken to curb terrorist activists across the globe, there is no stoppage to acts of terrorism. World over the number of terrorist strikes are on a rise. According to available data 16 incidents were reported in January while the number of terror strikes went up to 21 in February. In Match there were 45 attacks, in April 21 and in May 28 attacks took place. These are global figures of the past few months.

Meanwhile, as the investigations progress and investigators wait for leads to nab the culprits, Mumbai gets back to action within 10 hours of the serial blasts. “We are used to it. No terrorist action can prevent us from coming to work,” said a trader from Zaveri Bazaar who was back at work. And thus life goes on even as terrorist plan another attack to please their masters and handlers outside the border.

 By Jully Acharya from Mumbai

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