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3 blasts rock Mumbai; 21 dead, 140 injured

Published on 14 Jul. 2011 1:21 AM IST
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Three blasts within twelve minutes during Mumbai’s rush hour have left at least 21 people dead and over 140 injured. Home Minister P Chidambaram, who has reached Mumbai, described the blast as “a coordinated terror attack”. Mumbai has been sealed and is on high-alert; so are other metropolitan cities including Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who described the blasts as “an attack on the heart of India” said the blast at Opera House was the most powerful. One blast hit the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai. The others were at the Zaveri Bazaar, which is a famed jewelry market, and the busy business district of Opera House, both in southern Mumbai and several miles (kilometers) apart, police said. The most powerful blast took place in the Opera House area, causing widespread destruction. “There was a big noise,” a member of the Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association said. He said he saw 30-35 people sprawled on the ground, some crying in pain. Two or three had their legs blown off. All three blasts happened from 6.50 p.m. to 7 p.m., when all the neighborhoods would have been packed with office workers and commuters. Television footage showed dozens of police officials, several of them armed, at the sites of the explosion and at least one car with its windows shattered. A photograph showed victims of a blast at the Zaveri Bazaar crowding into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital. The bombs had been concealed in different places -- in a parked car in Dadar West, not far from the Shiv Sena headquarters, and in an umbrella at the Zaveri Bazar. People were hit by flying shrapnel from the improvised explosive devices used in the attacks, police and home ministry officials in Mumbai and New Delhi said. Some died instantly. Some lost their limbs. Mumbai residents detailed how, once relative calm was restored, people came to each other’s rescue, rushing the injured and the dying to nearest hospitals. PM Manmohan Singh had a quick talk with the Maharashtra CM. National Investigation Agency or NIA has reached the site of the blasts and is working with the Mumbai Police to collect and analyse forensic evidence. Soon after Wednesday’s blasts were reported, Pakistan’s government expressed distress on the loss of lives and injuries Chidambaram also chaired a high-level meeting with security and government officials after the blasts, here Wednesday.

President Patil condoles
Expressing grief over the Mumbai serial blasts, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Wednesday condoled the loss of lives in these blasts. Patil also wished speedy recovery to those injured in the incident in Mumbai today.

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