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Face of globalising Mumbai attacked

india Updated: Jul 12, 2006 12:56 IST
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TERROR HAD a plan on mind as it visited Mumbai on Tuesday. The powerful explosions that killed at least 160 rush-hour commuters and tore apart seven local-train compartments were methodically executed to shock the country's financial capital and hurl it into chaos.

Unlike the 1993 blasts, aimed at the city's institutions, 11/7 was meant to hit the people who represented the face of globalising Mumbai.

The bombs -- in all probability improvised explosive devices, the choice of terror groups in the past 10 years -- exploded mostly in first-class compartments ferrying professionals and businessmen during the evening rush hour.

The first bomb exploded at 6.15 p.m. at Bandra station, followed by a second on a train pulling out of Mahim station. All the stations (Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Khar, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road) hit are strung along a 60-km stretch of the western commuter line. These are among the city's affluent suburbs. This is where bankers, businessmen, entertainment moguls, actors, professionals and further swathes of the upper middle-class live.

Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy said investigations were on to zero in on the terrorist outfit responsible. Preliminary reports suggest the involvement of Lashkar-e-Tayebba. The police are probing possible links between the blasts and the seizures of radio-enabled detonators in Mumbai in March and a huge consignment of RDX at Aurangabad in May. The police had busted two suspected modules of the Lashkar following the seizures.

The bombings drove Mumbai to the edge. As the western line ground to a halt -- something even the monsoons could not do this year -- roads jammed, cell networks collapsed and panic-striken commuters walked home by the thousands in driving rain.

The blast sites were filled with gruesome scenes. Dazed and bloodied survivors struggled to come to terms with what had happened. Bodies and limbs were strewn everywhere. One first-class compartment was compacted into a solid block, people inside crushed. Chief secretary A.P. Sinha said, "It's a developing situation and as of now the death toll is 140, 260 injured.”