|The damaged compartment. (PTI)
Mumbai, March 13: Panic gripped Mumbai again today when a powerful blast ripped through the first class ladies’ compartment of a local train, killing 10 women on the spot and injuring around 70 others.
The blast occurred as the train was entering Mulund railway station in Mumbai central line around 8.45 pm. It was so powerful that the compartment was ripped apart and the iron doors crashed to the tracks.
Almost all the victims were injured above the waist. They have been taken to Mulund and Sion hospital.
The blast also extensively damaged an adjoining compartment. Even an hour later, some parts of the train were seen burning.
Minutes after the blast, all train services on the central line were suspended. As reports of the incident filtered out, a red alert was sounded in New Delhi and heavy police arrangements were put in place in Mumbai.
Deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal rushed to the spot and oversaw rescue and relief work. He, however, refused to categorically say what kind of explosive device was used and who he thought was responsible.
As news spread, people in other parts of the city and especially on the crowded western line disembarked and ran out of stations. Rumours of another blast in Vile Parle added to the chaos. Security has been stepped up at all stations here and sniffer dogs pressed into service.
Railway officials said the toll could mount as many of the injured were in a serious condition. They said they could not say how the blast was triggered.
The explosion occurred a day after the tenth anniversary of the Bombay serial blasts of 1993. It also follows the bomb blast at Ghatkopar a few months ago, where a timer device in a bus killed three persons and injured 30.
Some of those responsible for the Ghatkopar blast are being interrogated now. But four others of an extremist outfit have escaped from police custody.
The police have blamed some in the Students’ Islamic Movement of India’s for planning the Ghatkopar blast.