Tuesday 11 July 2006

Bomb blasts in Mumbai's railway stations

Update 10: My last word on the subject. No more updates here.

Update 9
: Do read my post on the Guardian's blog, Comment is Free, titled "Avoiding the backlash."

I make two points in that piece: one, the nature of terrorism is changing in India, and soft targets in big cities are more and more likely to be targeted. Two, this represents a challenge for Indian secularism that it must win if we are not to squander the gains of independence and democracy. Please read, and feel Free to Comment.

Update 7
(around 4 am, July 12): (I'm putting this update on top to summarise events. Scroll below for the chronology of my posting.)

Seven bomb blasts have taken place across Mumbai, along the Western Line railway, at rush hour. The exact locations are still not being clearly reported (see conflicting versions here and here), but this map (via Counterterrorism Blog) seems to be roughly correct. There's also a Google Map here.

Some links: Rediff's coverage, HT's coverage, NDTV, Mid Day, the Times of India, DNA, BBC, the Guardian, CNN, CNN-IBN, the Hindu. And here are pictures from Rediff, ToI, BBC, CNN-IBN and DNA. You can also see pics and YouTube clips at Ultrabrown, and there's a Flickr group here.

Other bloggers writing on this: Neha at Global Voices, Gaurav Sabnis, Sepia Mutiny, Varnam, Instapundit, Pajamas Media, Gateway Pundit, Pratyush Khaitan, Desi Pundit, Dhoomketu, Gawker, Patrix, and there's lots on Mumbai Metblogs.

Mumbai Help, which I'm part of, has seen loads of updates from bloggers, with one post in particular standing out: "How can we help you?" worked superbly as a forum through which people could reach their loved ones in Mumbai, and find out that they were okay. There is also a wiki now for such info.

More links will follow later. The original post, along with its first few updates, is below below the next update.

Update 8: The latest death toll is 190.

There's a lot of misinformation floating around, especially regarding blood donations. Rumours were floating that Sion Hospital needed 1600 bottles of blood, but that is not true. I just called them up and they told me they had excess blood, and there's a first-person account here from someone who went there to donate blood. Before you head off for that purpose, please call the hospital you intend to go to. A list of telephone numbers is here. More numbers (via Mumbai Help): Blood banks, BMC control rooms.

The Mumbai Police has a list of dead and injured people here. Everybody I know in Mumbai travels by train; any of us could have been on that list. It's chilling, and it feels frivolous to offer condolences on a blog for those who have lost a friend or relative. What consolation can there be?

Original post: At least four six seven* bomb blasts reported so far in Mumbai, not much on the web as I type this here are some reports: Rediff, NDTV, Times of India, BBC, Mid Day, the Guardian, CNN. These come right after blasts in Srinagar.

The TV channels are full of pictures, and cliches like "lifeline of Mumbai" and so on. One anchor asks his correspondent if this is a terrorist attack, as if he'd know five minutes after reaching the blast site. Phonelines are down across the city, though SMSs from outside are coming in. More later.

Latest reports: 20 deaths at Matunga Road (thanks n), 15 at Sion/Matunga. These are via TV, might be unreliable. Please leave updates in comments.

(*Mira Road, Jogeshwari, Khar, Matunga Road, Borivali, Bhayandar, Bandra: all across the Western line, at rush hour.)

Update: As soon as the first pictures started, Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN started waxing about how how "resilient Mumbaikars" were "helping each other." And moments ago, he bragged about how "this is the power of a global news organisation. These pictures are going out across the world thanks to CNN-IBN." Every news channel had more or less the same pictures.

Update 2: AN Roy says on NDTV 24x7 that at least 60 dead bodies have been located. He also says that the police has given no instructions to disable telephone lines, and that they are jammed for a different reason. (Obviously because everyone's trying to call at the same time and the network can't take the traffic.) Electricity has also been turned off at most of these stations, clearly for safety reasons. (Update: The latest death toll being reported is 135.)

Update 3: High-intensity explosives have been used for these attacks; some of the railway carriages have been ripped apart. This is clearly no amateur job, but a well-planned operation by a group with plenty of resources.

Update 4: A post on Mumbai Help, "How can we help you?" has effectively become a forum where you can ask for information or help in reaching friends etc. Feel free to post a message there if you need something, loads of different bloggers are monitoring that post, and will try to help out.

Update 5: LK Advani and Gopinath Munde of the BJP have appeared on news channels to condemn the central and state governments respectively. You'd expect the politicians to try and take advantage, but I hope -- like most Mumbaikars, I'm sure -- that the Shiv Sena doesn't get involved. It must be tempting for them to assert themselves by setting off a communal conflagaration. That would be a far worse disaster than these blasts. Mumbai needs to hold together now.

Update 6: Gaurav Sabnis has a timeline of the media coverage here. Also, more coverage on Sepia Mutiny and Ultrabrown.

Cross-posted from India Uncut.

32 comments:

  1. Amit,

    Any idea how to reach friends and family in Mumbai? Looks like the entire mobile network is jammed!

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  2. And CNN-IBN was the last of all the networks to report the 7th blast. Sardesai had to ask AN Roy where the seventh blast was. CNN-IBN should report the news properly before tooting its own horn.

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  3. For some it's news, for some it's lives lost. When innocent, unsuspecting people get targeted - it calls for a collective condonement. Despikable indeed! But Mumbai is made of much sterner stuff.

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  4. how the f**k does it matter how ibn reports it man? People are drowning and you are describing the water. IBNor NDTV or any media house will always blow their horns. What's new.

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  5. Ferrari, no idea, right now the phone networks in Mumbai are jammed because everyone's trying to make calls at the same time. keep trying.

    Also, you can try posting the numbers here: http://mumbaihelp.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-can-we-help-you.html. Hopefully a reader from outside Mumbai can try and get through. I'm not being able to get through anywhere right now.

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  6. CNN-IBN says SMS 'MUMBAI' to 2622 to send a message to freinds/relatives.

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  7. Correction: SMS 'MUMBAI your message' to 2622

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  8. Use Matunga Road and not Matunga/Sion. Those stations are on the Central line and Matunga Road is on the Western line. The Central line is unaffected.

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  9. Unfortunately it appears that Mumbai is joining the club of cities with Madrid and London. 3/11, 7/7, and now 7/11 (that's American style - month/date).

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  10. Thanks imhunt, have made that change.

    Such conflicting info coming in from the channels, hard to stay on top of things...

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  11. Steve, Don't forget
    New York, "9/11"

    United We Stand against terrorism

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  12. THESE BASTURDS MUST B CAUGHT AND SHOULD LEFT FOR THE PUBLIC TO DECIDE THEIR FATE.

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  13. HANG THEM ON THE TRAIN AND CARRY THEM AROUND FOR A WEEK, SO THAT NO ONE DARES EVER

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  14. We have a Prime Minister busy selling of profit making public companies and ignoring intelligence.That pet dog of sonia should be held responsible for these attacks.

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  15. One of the blast was in the local that left churchgate at 5:27 and dadar at 6:14. [Reported on AajTak]

    Please try to find the timings of the trains that were hit and post it here. It will help some people who are not able to reach their relatives or friends but know their train-timings.

    Thanks

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  16. Whoever did this are those people who doesnt have any humanity left in them . They do this because of their own personal interest and place it on the agenda of mere religion. I hate these people. They should be hanged to death for taking so many innocent lives.
    My sympathy goes to all who are affected by these attacks. May God give them peace

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  17. Sion Hospital has made an appeal for 1600 bottles of blood.

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  18. TRAIN DETAILS
    The first blast was reported near Khar Railway station in Mumbai, which left several people injured.

    The incident took place at 6:09 pm (IST) in a local train from Churchgate to Borivali between Khar and Mahim stations on the Western Line.

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  19. Every year in summer we have these blasts, why can't the government or th epolice do something about it.
    And finally if there is a hand of pakistan in this then god willing let's not sit on our asses this time.

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  20. they are really son of a bitch....they must be handed to public

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  21. We extend our heartfelt sympathies from Philadelphia Indian Charter.
    Yes,i dont understand why dont these extremists get a life.

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  22. 7 blasts in 7 different trains and the reporter is wondering if it's a terrorist attack? LOL


    Also, to all those who are trying to enquire about your near and dear ones, please have some patience. Do not dial a bombay number until it is truly an emergency.

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  23. Yeah, me too..So sorry, so sorry.

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  24. 7/11 - like the store. Cool.

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  25. Manoj from USA12 July 2006 1:15 am

    I'm sure Mumbai will be back to business as usual. The nonchalant "chalta hai" attitude of these people is amazing.

    I must warn Mumbai that this is not a time to get back to business, this is a time to demand some action from those incharge for protecting you. This is a time to call for the revamp of the police and emergency response services, educate the common folk to be vigilant and hold the home minister and intelligence agencies accountable for their failures.

    Otherwise, you're the perfect soft targets the terrorists will continue to use to get their agenda onto the TV screens across the world.

    Terrorist attacks don't just happen, they are ALLOWED to happen. Do not allow the politicians to con you into believing they are helpless against such attacks and DO NOT allow the terrorists to treat you like sheeple who, if they slaughter enough, will be shown bleating in panic on the world TV screens.

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  26. Hating people from a community will not solve the problem.

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  27. I have just called sion hospital. They do not need blood. Infact they are sending donors back.

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  28. Very Unfortunate and uncalled for? What did mumbai do to deserve this?

    But I am not surprised that there is no reaction from the Sainiks where everyone has falsely painted a picture of them over the years. The people have helped paint a false picture of the Sainiks because they are doing their heinous acts behind the innocent harmless actions of the Sainiks.

    Latest example: Distract the Sainiks like the way they did last weekend so that these terrorists could plant the bombs.
    It was a well orchestrated plan in advance.

    Some gullible people even blogged about it coz with the sainiks they can dare to write anything about them. But with these fanatics (SIMI) no one dare blog or write or raise their voice. Such is the scare created by OBL and like wise gang

    Let us analyze how 3 sections of the society reacted to terrorist acts:

    USA: After 9/11, went on two major wars in retaliation . One with Afganistan and the other with Iraq. Several thousands of life were taken. But they taught everyone a lesson. People of USA were thus comforted down once their elected President did what was expected. In return, they re-elected him.

    Intentional Statue and Hindu Idol abuse on 7/9/06 : Sainiks ONLY burned buses and asked people to close their shops thus causing mere planned inconvenience . (do the Indian children of Meena tahi have this liberty to save the grace of whom they regard as their mother)

    SIMI/ DAWOOD/ OBL & gang : Blast buildings in USA, Bali, Kashmir and killed lakhs of innocents in 1993, 9/11, 7/7 , 7/11. Innocents are dead , common men have died mercilessly in the name of religion wars.

    Sainik reaction to 7/11 (prediction in advance): None and there will none. Probably burning buses coz they will be at it again. But no killing. Wait and watch.

    --I wish we had a President like Bush.
    --I wish people could fear the Indian they way people fear SIMI, Dawood and OBL.

    God bless the dead and give lots of mental courage to the families whose loved ones never returned and never will.

    Buckle up Mumbai.

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  29. the worst part is that I don't get why this dump politicians come to show their face for half and hour and say the same filmy dialouge
    " We will fight against this with strong hands & cath the guitly ones" making police and other resources busy in giving security to them

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  30. I think the Mumbai blasts have been orchestrated by those who wish to stall the peace process between India and Pakistan, which has been on the fast track, of late.

    However, I salute those locals who immediately came out to provide succour to those affected by the blasts.

    And last but not the least, this blog is a commendable effort.

    May God give those who have lost their near and dear ones, the strength to bear his will!

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  31. These balsts gives the SHIT on the face of the intelegence department of the state as well onto the central goverment. Disaster at such a large level is not one day task, its a properly planned actions aimed to harm the innocent people.

    May god give strength and courage to the relatives of the people who lost their lives and who suffres the injuries.

    In the end i would really like to say thanks to the owner of the blog for the effort he's done. Doing gr8 job in informing and serving the people. God bless

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  32. Instead of showing the breaking news,debates etc these so called 24X7 channels can concentrate more on development activity which our civic authorities don't do

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