Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Serial blast rocks Bombay, 7/11

This is the blackest day for Bombay, 8 bomb blasts rocked Bombay around 6.20pm on July 11, 2006. This is bigger than the 1994 serial blast and its hit at the heart of Bombay - its train service.

Most offices in Bombay close at around 5.30pm and the trains carry the maximum load between 6-7pm. Average compartment has a seating capacity of about 60seats, but during peak load about 200-300 people are packed like sardines. This blast took place on the western line (Central and harbour line are the two other lines). Reports of bomb blasts have come in from between Mahim (close to my office) and Matunga in north-central Mumbai, Khar, Jogeshwari (both in north-west Mumbai), Borivali - 2 blasts (north Mumbai), Bhyandar and Mira Road (in Mumbai north, in Thane district). The exact names of the stations are not certain, but its pretty much certain that its about 7 locations and 8 blasts. But the number of blasts are still not confirmed and its based on television reports. There are over 100+ people dead and many more injured.

Certain important observations -

These blasts took place on western rail network only.
They were all in trains moving in one direction, from the central business district (Churchgate) moving towards the suburbs.
They all took place in the first class compartments (their are two classes, second and first class), in a train with 12 coaches about 2 are first class coaches.
They took place within a gap of 15minutes or so, which meant the planning was detailed and meticulous (to have planned and synchronized this attack would have required a few months preparation). This means it is not related to any other incident (like the Shivaji park one or the Bhivandi incident)
Although most reports say that it was done using bags that were left in compartments, I tend to believe that this could have been done with suicide bombers (the quick succession seems very difficult without it), plus these were done in moving trains.
No terrorist group has claimed responsibility as yet.
To put the total number of casualties in perspective, let as assume that about 8 compartments would have been carrying about 2000 people (8 blasts and about 250 people in each compartment). So it would be safe to assume that about 50% of them would have been injured in some way and about 15-20% of that would have died in the blasts.

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