Eyewitnesses to the Monday night blast in Modasa, 130 km north-east of Ahmedabad, said the explosion at Suka Bazaar could have killed hundreds of people if it had taken place 10 minutes later.
They said thousands were to leave the two nearby mosques after the Teravi Namaaz which ended life-saving minutes after a bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded in the crowded area bustling with Eid shoppers.
Yusufbhai Ghori, 59-year-old uncle of 17-year-old victim Zainuddin Ghori, said that Teravi Namaaz was on at the Idayat Masjid and Shahikot Masjid when the blast blew up the motorcycle, sending metal pieces flying in all directions.
Another factor which minimised the effect was the placing of the motorcycle near a closed shop, with the explosive-laden side facing the shutter which took the brunt.
Salim Zamadar (35), an auto-rickshaw driver, narrated how a portion of the motorcycle was thrown in the air by the explosion and snapped the overhead electric wires causing the streetlights to go off.
Zainuddin, who died on Monday night, and his cousin Nizamuddin Ghori (16) who died at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, had gone to the market to buy medicines for the ailing mother of the former, sobbing family members said.
A day after terror struck, people here displayed remarkable restraint as a crowd of nearly 500 buried the victim of the blast. The mourners did not shout any slogans or utter any offensive language against anybody.
They just buried Zainuddin peacefully. “Shouting would have created hurdles in his soul’s peaceful journey to heaven,” said a relative of the victim. Nizamuddin was wrongly presumed dead on Monday night when he was shifted to Ahmedabad in a precarious condition with shrapnel injuries all over his body, said Dr Dinkar Dave, Medical Director of Sarvajanik Hospital here.
Nizamuddin died in the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Not only was the town with a 55 per cent Muslim population tension-free on the day after the blast, Hindu women near the blast site were seen happily buying religious items and clothes for the nine-day festival of Navratri beginning on Tuesday. It is not that the Muslims will not celebrate Eid on Thursday but the community has decided to keep it a low-key affair.
Anger in Malegaon
People in Malegaon, in the Nashik district of northern Maharashtra, are outraged, hurt and angry with the government, administration and police. The first reaction to the tragic blast that claimed four lives and injured more than 80 people here on Monday night was a spontaneous expression of anger at the authorities.
Whoever HT met here, vent his rage, not at the terrorists, but at the government, which people see as having failed to stop the blasts.
Muslims in Malegaon have decided to wear black bands to condemn the blasts.
“This year, Eid will be celebrated in a different fashion,” said Abdul Hamid Azhari, a religious leader from Malegaon.
Like the last time, Dr Saeed Ahmed Farhani provides succour to the injured, some of who are the only wage earners in their families. “I have removed shrapnel, some as large as 20 mm. More than the poisoning complications, we have to cope with the mechanical damage to the muscles, organs, nerves and blood vessels,” he told HT.