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Temple town?s peace shattered

Rajender Prasad had just neared the ticket counter at the Varanasi railway station on Tuesday evening when a deafening explosion threw him off balance.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 01:56 IST

Rajender Prasad had just neared the ticket counter at the Varanasi railway station on Tuesday evening when a deafening explosion threw him off balance. In minutes, the station had been stained with blood. An explosion in the waiting room had carved a gaping pit inside. All that remained when was a heap of blood and flesh. The police rushed to discover the room had turned into a morgue.

Soon after, medicos and paramedical staff had swarmed the station, tending to the injured. Prasad was among the many passengers about to board the Neelanchal Express bound for Kharagpur but ended up with a serious injury to his left arm, an eyewitness said.

Inside Sankat Mochan temple, the bomb ripped through a marriage ceremony. A 42-year-old woman, Badama was one of the invitees. Her three-year-old son Babu was critically injured. Hidya Narayan Maurya an eye witness said he saw people tumbling on each other in panic. "Blood and limbs were strewn everywhere."

The scene at the city's hospitals was equally horrifying. Staff at the Banaras Hindu University hospital, Heritage Hospital and another at Kabir Chauraha had a tough time coping with the numbers of injured coming from the Sankat Mochan temple. Sources at BHU confirmed five persons were brought dead while 35 others were injured. A badly-injured six-year old Rashmi Kumari from Charkupa in Bihar said she had come with her father Hari Govind Sharma and spent the Monday night at the railway station. The blast took place when they were about to board the train to Bihar.

Hemant Kumar (19), resident of Assi locality was at the Sankatmochan temple when the blast injured both his legs. Two other victims Ajay Prakash (19) and Anjani Kedia (30) at the station who were seriously injured by the blast.

Mohit (8) of Arra was brought to the district hospital in the city in critical condition. The doctors attending on him immediately rushed him to the operation theatre for an emergency surgery. In the district hospital there were atleast 40 blast victims with injuries who were being treated at the Emergency ward by the doctors. A woman belonging to Auragnabad region of Bihar was seen searching for her two sons Mahendra and Sanjay after the blast at the railway station.

Moreover, Nirala Nagar residents Sandip Singh Guddu, Gaurav Singh, resident of Nadesar and Sunil Singh were standing in the queue at the Sankatmochan Temple when the blast took place in Varanasi. While Gaurav Singh had a narrow escape, the other two devotees Sandip Singh and Sunil Singh received injuries and were picked up after the blast by the people who rushed to the spot to help the victims. Both have been rushed to the government hospital for treatment.

An eyewitness by the name of Sunil said he had completed one "parikrama" of the temple and was about to take another one when he heard a deafening sound from near the temple. Immediately after, he saw injured people with blood all over the body shouting and asking for help in the temple.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 01:56 IST