Ref: The financial capital of India, Mumbai, has been rocked by three near-simultaneous blasts on Wednesday evening, killing at least 21 and injuring over 141 others, say media reports.
The explosions took place during the evening peak hour in the crowded areas of Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar of the port city.
The terror strike coincided with the birthday of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in 26/11, who turned 24 today (Wednesday). Kasab has been sentenced to death by a trial court.
Home minister P Chidambaram indicated that at least 10 people have been killed, but Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan raised that to 13, which subsequently raised to 21, TV news channels reported.
The explosions, which ripped through the country’s financial capital, went off just few minutes apart between 6:45 and 7 pm. “Therefore, we infer this was a coordinated attack by terrorists,” Chidamabaram told reporters in New Delhi, adding that given the critical condition of some of the injured, the toll is likely go up further.
Although no group has claimed responsibility as of now, Mumbai Police suspect the hand of Indian Mujahideen (IM). Chavan, however, declined to speculate on who could be behind the explosions.
Improvised explosive devices (IED) were used by the terrorists, says the Indian home ministry.
Mumbai Police commissioner Arup Patnaik said the blasts at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar were of higher intensity than the one at Dadar.
“It is a terror act. Quite obvious that some terror element is involved in the attack,” Patnaik insisted.
He said the NSG (National Security Guards) hub in Mumbai has been put on standby and that the elite force’s ‘post-blast’ team has also been sent to the financial capital of the country.
Fire brigade and Mumbai police are carrying out rescue operations. Teams of state forensic science laboratory are also at the spot.
A team from NSG’s National Bomb Data Centre is expected to reach the spot from Manesar, Haryana soon.
It is still not clear whether the blasts involved the use of a motorcycles and scooters, though one of the blasts took place in a Maruti Esteem car. There are reports that one blast happened at a bus stop.
A police official was quoted as saying that an IED was found in an umbrella too.
All the explosions have taken place in heavily crowded areas. The first explosion took place in south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar, near the famous Mumbadevi temple, in which some people were injured, said Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli. The bustling market also has a number of jewellery shops.
The second explosion was reported in a taxi in Dadar area, he said, while the third blast was reported from Opera House in Charni Road.
The public in Mumbai is fuming, as per the reactions, and some are blaming the government for inaction and demanding that those in power must quit because the same city is being successfully targeted time and again.
However, mostly, there is an appreciation of the quick reaction of the Mumbai Police and the efficient manner that they took charge of the situation, which is in stark contrast to what happened during 26/11 (Mumbai attack).
News-hungry people have created a rush on the telecom system, causing a jam in the services.