MUMBAI: Terror struck Mumbai when three near-simultaneous blasts ripped through crowded areas on Wednesday evening killing at least 21 people and injuring 141 in a grim reminder of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attack.
The Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Ajit Pawar said 21 people had died in the back-to-back explosions which struck in a span of 14 minutes, apparently aimed at causing maximum casualties during the peak hour.
All the explosions were triggered by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), a Home Ministry official said, adding 113 were
The blast sites were splattered with blood as some bodies lay strewn around while cars and motorcyles were charred in the impact of the explosions in the country’s financial capital.
The terror strike which revived memories of the Mumbai attack that left 166 dead coincided with the 24th birthday of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman in the carnage. Kasab has been sentenced to death.
No group claimed responsibility but Mumbai police suspect the hand of Indian Mujahideen (IM). Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Prithviraj Chavan declined to speculate on who could be behind the attack.
Mumbai police commissioner, Mr Arup Patnaik said the blasts at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar were of a higher intensity than the one at Dadar. "It is a terror act. Quite obvious that some terror element is involved in the attack. Zaveri Bazaar blast exploded with use of IED kept in an abandoned umbrella. All three blasts occurred between 6.50 and 7 pm," Mr Patnaik said. All the injured have suffered burn injuries.
Mr Chavan said the blast at Opera House was the "most powerful." He appealed to the people to maintain calm and not to get swayed by rumours. The explosions struck this metropolis two days after the fifth anniversary of the serial train blasts here that had left 186 dead and 800 injured.
While the blast in Zaveri Bazaar was triggered through explosives planted in an umbrella, the one in Dadar West was caused by an explosive device concealed in a meter box of the electric cabinet of a BEST bus stop. Preliminary reports said that the explosives were kept inside a Maruti Esteem in the Dadar blast. Police late Wednesday night said the blast at Dadar was of low intensity.
The umbrella was apparently used to camouflage the explosive during the downpour being witnessed in the city, in the bustling Khau Gali in Zaveri Bazaar, according to police commissioner,
Mr Arup Patnaik.
The scene of the blast in Dadar is less than a kilometre from the headquarters of hardline saffron outfit Shiv Sena. The Opera House blast took place at Prasad Chamber building where a loud explosion was heard around 6.45 pm and people ran helter-skelter in blood-soaked clothes with shards of glass strewn all
over the area.
The blast at Khau Gali in Dadar, outside the ‘Mohanbhai’ stall, left several mutilated bodies lying in a pool of blood. "The entire lane was splashed with blood…There were 4-5 mutilated bodies lying around and people were fleeing the spot in fear," said Vijay, a carpenter.
According to Jayant Patil, guardian minister for Mumbai, 29 injured were brought to Harkishandas hospital from Opera House of whom six were serious. At St Georges hospital, co-director Mr Pravin Shingare said of the nine admitted there one was in a critical condition, while among 19 admitted to GT Hospital one was serious.