Terror had a plan in mind as it visited Mumbai on Tuesday. The powerful explosions that killed at least 147 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.
|Terror in Mumbai|
The first bomb exploded at 6.15 p.m. at Bandra station, followed by one on a train pulling out of Mahim station.
All the stations hit (Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Khar, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road) are strung along a 60-km stretch of the western commuter line. These are among the city’s affluent suburbs — home to bankers, businessmen, entertainment moguls, actors and other upper-middle-class professionals.
Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy said investigations were on to zero in on the terrorist outfit responsible. Preliminary reports suggest the involvement of the 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 in Aurangabad in May. They 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, mobile networks collapsed and panic-stricken 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, the people inside crushed.