Serial blasts: Terror strikes Mumbai again

Published: July 14, 2011

Friends console a man who lost his brother in the attacks in Mumbai. PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI: 

Two days after the 5th anniversary of seven bomb blasts on Mumbai’s suburban railway line, three near-simultaneous explosions rocked crowded neighbourhoods of India’s financial capital within three minutes of each other on Wednesday evening.

According to India’s home ministry, at least 21 were killed and 141 injured in the attacks, – the most potent since the 2008 assault on the city, – sending the world’s largest democracy into a state of high alert.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm. “I appeal to the people of Mumbai to show a united face,” Singh said in a statement.

One blast occurred at the Opera House, an area full of diamond stores in south Mumbai. Another blast, also in south Mumbai, was at the Zaveri Bazaar, a big gold and silver market. And the third explosion was at Dadar in the centre of the city. The first blast was reported at about 6.45pm.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks till the filing of this report.

Preliminary investigations indicate that improvised explosive devices (IED) were used in the attacks, but the nature of explosives remains unknown.

“The vehicles used (in the attacks) were scooters and motorcycles,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told India’s CNN-IBN TV.

Other television channels said that an improvised explosive device was placed in a car, suggesting the work of local groups rather than an international terror network.

A team of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), which is examining the incident, said it is too early to determine who was involved.

“However, we are examining the possible involvement of Indian Mujahideen – a home-grown militant outfit,” IB sources told The Express Tribune. “The blasts bear the signature of Indian Mujahideen,” echoed a member of the NIA, which is also investigating the case.

The Indian Mujahideen are a small group of militants that have allegedly carried out a string of low-intensity attacks in India.

Television images showed blaring ambulances carrying away the injured at one of the attack sites. At Dadar, one of the explosions left car windows shattered and uprooted electric poles. Police were seen using sniffer dogs to look for clues and check for any more explosive devices, while local people helped paramedics carry away some of the injured.

“We heard a big blast. The building shook, the windows shattered. It was deafening,” said Aagam Doshi, a witness of the blast at the Opera House and a diamond merchant in south Mumbai. “We came outside, and the area was filled with black smoke. There were bodies lying all over the street, there was lots of blood… We saw many bodies missing arms and missing legs.”

Soon after the explosions, Home Minister P Chidambaram convened a meeting of intelligence agencies to assess the situation.

“This is a coordinated attack by terrorists and the death toll could rise. I urge the people to maintain peace,” said Chidambaram after the meeting. The home ministry has decided to issue a detailed statement every two hours.

Apart from the high alert across the country, security agencies have sounded an alert in 14 cities that are considered to be on the list of terrorists. Senior home ministry officials said that the four metro cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Surat – were amongst the cities were on red alert.

Pakistan’s president and prime minister condemned multiple blasts in Mumbai. “President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, the government and the people of Pakistan, have condemned the blasts in Mumbai and expressed distress on the loss of lives and injuries,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The president and the prime minister have expressed their deepest sympathies to the Indian leadership,” on the loss of lives, injuries and damage to property in Mumbai, it added.

US President Barack Obama also condemned the Mumbai attacks and offered support to bring the perpetrators to justice, according to a statement read by White House spokesman Jay Carney.

“I strongly condemn the outrageous attacks in Mumbai and my thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and those who have lost loved ones,” Obama said. He said the US government “continues to monitor the situation, including the safety and security of our citizens.”

He added that “India is a close friend and partner of the United States,” and that “the American people will stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and we will offer support to India’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice.”

The theories

While there was no direct blame, there were a number of unofficial theories doing the rounds.

One pointed out that the attacks coincided with the Martyrs Day being celebrated in Kashmir. Another, somewhat fanciful, theory pointed out that the attacks ‘coincided with the birthday’ of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, who is still in captivity in India. (With additional input from news wires)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • milind kulkarni
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:00AM

    I m shoked when i herd this blast news.

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  • Akram
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:44AM

    Why does it always have to be either Muslims, Pakistanis, Kashmiris, or ‘coincided with the Ajmal Kasab”? I hope Indians know they have terrorists in Assam terrorizing people everyday, terrorists in South India where the worlds first Suicide was attacked was conducted and Hindu terrorists in Pune and central India killing hindus who convert to Christianity. They can’t blame Pakistanis because WE have suffered far more than they can ever imagine and don’t even have time to sit and think about India. Thats the last thing on our minds. So a little advice to my Indian counterparts, first get the facts then come out and play the blame game. Cause I would love to blame Hindu nationalists, who dont want peace in the region. I love conspiracy theories.

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  • Ali
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:46AM

    sad incident.

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  • Mirza
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:49AM

    This is the worst day for peace loving people of Indian sub continent. Our worst fears have come true and the terrorists strike again. Fell sorry, and ashamed of these cowardly acts of terrorism against the peaceful citizens of Mumbai. Their plan has always been to kill as many people as possible and create mayhem and hatred among people. My heart goes to the families of the survivors. May God rest their souls in peace and punish the cold blooded killers.

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  • Rajeev Suri
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:51AM

    The script is the same, actors and theaters different,

    The mujaheddin wage a war not against a state, ideology or religion, but against the common people, that compromise of their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. The different groups all have the same credo – panic and terror, however what they don’t realize is that the world has become more resolute, and will not go into revenge mode against a particular community as they had hoped their dastardly actions would trigger.

    The life cycle of terror is coming to an end, what we are witnessing is actions of marginalized groups desperately trying to remain relevant.

    You shall not succeed, the world has seen though your plot, and will not participate in it.

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  • Mahendra
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:53AM

    I just want to know why such things happen in India-(Mumbai) again and again.
    Is it not possible to find a permanent remedy to such problems when we have other countries in world who takes serious and effective actions against such hazardous problems. Moreover we are having huge manpower which includes highly skilled and expert persons too.
    There is something we are lacking behind and the root cause must be sorted out.

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  • bulbul
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:04AM

    I feel sad for the people who lost their loved ones in these attacks. =(

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  • ashok sai
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:13AM

    26/11 made me sleepless for a week and this one revives those memories. The whole of India is with Mumbai and those affected families, 1.2 billion people behind you. I assure, we will have the last laugh !

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  • Naveed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:15AM

    one thing is more than evident now …..given ISI’s current preoccupation, it is impossible that it would plan and execute such a gory act….the intel agency is tied up with its relations with the US and is working on a PR betterment strategy within the country. with the blasts coinciding with Kasab’s birthday…it also gives strong impetus that the Mumbai attack last year were indigenous homegrown acts from within India.

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  • Naveed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:16AM

    one thing is more than evident now …..

    given ISI’s current preoccupation, it is impossible that it would plan and execute such a gory act…………

    the intel agency is tied up with its relations with the US and is working on a PR betterment strategy…….. within the country. with the blasts coinciding with Kasab’s birthday…it also gives strong impetus that the Mumbai attack last year were indigenous homegrown acts from within India.

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  • saeed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:31AM

    @Mirza first of tell me from which country you are..some time you act as a American tax payer some time British and some time an apologetic Pakistani…why are you portraying as a sorry Pakistani today again and again in you comments as if Pakistanis have done it and it is proved..are you in you true sense or you always remain in an imaginative world..There is a home grown breed of terrorists group in India known as indian mujaheddin with all well of educated class youth…I just mentioned that in my first comment and all the Indians and wana be sympathizers like you jump on that..When we in Pakistan are introspecting that how come part of our society has become so radicalized that they attack innocent …why did not same applies to India in that..I have just showed the facts and reality and mind set which could be behind these attacks…why it is so hard for Indians and people like you to digest, that there are hundreds of youths in India which are involved in these attacks be it Muslims or naxalites or maoists..and stop pretending to be a Pakistani…No one in Pakistan will wish any thing like that to Indians..I have never seen you that much upset when Pakistanis get killed and butchered by the terrorist..

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  • Nak
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:34AM

    so sad so bad

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  • anil
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:35AM

    well…it seems some indian islamic groups involved,but they don’t have guts to take responsibility….

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  • Jul 14, 2011 - 10:38AM

    Terrible. Terrorism has to be weeded out.

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  • Rsingh
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:51AM

    I thought PC was in control of the things but these blasts have shown that Terrorist can strike at will.

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  • Saoodali
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:51AM

    I just wonder that why it is being preached that “No other city in the world has been the tragic target of as many serial terror attacks and bombings as Mumbai”? haven’t you seen blast in Major cities of Pakistan and its ruthless killings of innocent people? Haven’t anybody seen killings of immaculated persons in bajur, dir etc.? Haven’t you seen the brutal killings of drone attacks? I just wonder

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  • Faraz
    Jul 14, 2011 - 10:55AM

    I want to see a day when these kinds of acts don’t happen in our world, I hope to see this day in my life time

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  • Waqar
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:33AM

    I, as a Pakistani, feel same sorrow, as any indian on these deadly blasts.But I would like to grab the attention of Indians towards another aspect…..whenever it happens in India they start blaming Pakistan and its people without any delay. As everyone knows india itself having so many extremist organizations. Now they should seriously focus on those organizations otherwise it might happen that india kept blaming Pakistan and the real criminals will be escaped and enjoying their freedom to do anything.

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  • Haroon Saeed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:56AM

    lol @ indian islamic groups! if they are opertaing in india then only you should be responsible for taking sound actions agasint them !

    india trying to be the USA ! another drama

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  • Mirza
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:57AM

    @saeed:
    Why are you so irritated by my condolence to the victims? What have I written wrong please quote it. I do not have to answer you for anything. I am beyond the petty divisions that humans created. My apology and sorrow is in the light of past Mumbai attacks. It is a reminder of that incident and would create hate. How do you know it was a home grown operation, just like the Kasab?
    I was people crying and hurting, and I have to console them. If that feels bad to you then so be it. BTW, I have never seen anybody being so irate and critical of a condolence message.
    Regards,

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  • delhi_se
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:27PM

    @Mirza : Thanks brother and I wish there are more people like you in both India and Pakistan.
    @Saeed : You are a despicable sad person dude. I have no idea what you inferred from Mirza’s statement that you went quite tangential from the topic. None of us or the news have yet blamed anyone and you are pro-actively claiming it is IM, as if you know it too well. You know what this is called right ? “Chor ke dadhee main tinkaa”! . Your previous comments elsewhere in all blogs just proves time and again that you are a character with no moral or ethical sense and who has no interest in fact finding but just to be a voice of propaganda machine and deep prejudiced up bringing. I pity you.
    @anil : I am hindu and I would still not bracket a terrorist with Islam or any religion. A terrorist has no religion, they just use religion to gain sympathy and support from innocent citizens who have high religious sentiments. I believe we need to De-hyphanate religion and terrorism. No religion supports terrorism for any cause. It is always few bunch of idiots who call them religious leaders and mislead lesser minded or emotionally volatile people to fight for their insidious cause.

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  • Amer Khan
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:30PM

    Well, i have a different view, these blasts and threats will go on till we have atrocities happening to the minorities around the world, those minorities can be religouos based, community based or in some other shape.

    India being such a big country, will always have dissatisfied groups amongst them and these things will happen every now and then till a time comes that either you have full proof security apparatus or have all communites satisfied.

    Ultimatley, only poor people get killed as these guys target populus places where no elite is living which is very unfortunate. When a bomb blast occurs, it does not ask for the religion of the person killed or injured so lets not blame a country or a religion for such incidents.

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  • Mahesh Patil
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:37PM

    @saeed:
    Dear Sir,
    Please.First of we should not view any terrorist act in religious angle.There is nothing wrong if some one shows sympathy to the sufferer be him of any nationality or faith.For the other part of your question about Mr.Mirza’s nationality please go through the following his own comment.But I disagree with him.He is not of any particular nationality,he is universe nationalist.
    @Mahesh Patil:
    Please do not make me feel more humbled. I am an ordinary Pakistani who is doing his best to empower them with education, freedom from the suppression and to a good free life, just like people of many other nations. I have always preached equality and independence from a colonial system where only the color of master’s has changed. Pakistanis are still ruled by the same cantonments that British have.
    I have been called names, foreign agent and traitor. It is difficult for some Pakistanis to understand and believe that a Pakistani Muslim can spread the message of love, equality and fairness and not hate.

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  • Ozymandias
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:38PM

    @anil
    Ever heard of Abhinav Bharat?

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  • goggi
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:52PM

    Our countries are in a state of a devious and snaky war. This guerrilla war is being conducted from the thousands of sleeper cells which can strike the civilians, whenever and wherever! All religions and politicians have unitedly proved a flop for a peaceful coexistence of our societies. The only way to peace is the “collective voice of people”……..but before we one beautiful day start walking this peaceful way, gazillion innocent people shall lose their lives.

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  • Saibal
    Jul 14, 2011 - 1:18PM

    I stumbled on this article while looking up the Mumbai blasts on the net. I see a lot of comments on both sides – From Pakistan – defensive and from India – accusatory. While I agree that one should not jump to conclusions, it is very probable that the people involved are from so called “Islamic terror groups”. Unfortunately history says all blasts in Mumbai have been orchestrated by such groups right from 92-93. Had the same thing happened in MP/Chattisgarg it would be the Maoists who would have been suspects. Anyway my main point here is that we need to take cognizance of the fact that the world over “Islamic Terror groups” are today the most active. I think Muslims the world over need to introspect on what is going on in the Islamic world that is accounting for the disproportionate amount of terror emenating from this region/place. The “War against terror” seems to be the favourite reasons cited, the question then is – won’t this kind of violence actually force more countries to join in the war on terror and ostracize Muslims? The Muslim world has to find the answer.

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  • Aristo
    Jul 14, 2011 - 1:34PM

    Why is the Sub-continent such a difficult place to live in peace and an easy place to die. It seems like there is no value of the non-white human life, may be too many people in one place. One small incident takes place in the west and they turn the World upside down but here millions die and no body gives a shoot.

    I am saddened to hear the valuable loss of lives in Mumbai once again, I offer my condolences to the grieved family members; irrespective of the color, cast, religion and race as i know how it feels to lose a loved one.

    South Asians as a whole need to change their mindset and bring about a paradigm shift in ways to deal with any thing that is related to violence.

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  • saeed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 2:49PM

    @Mahesh Patel..Brother Why I raised this question of his nationality is that on one article about aid from America the same Mister Mirza argued with me a lot pretending to be as American tax payer…who else on this earth will want peace more then Pakistanis..no sane Pakistani will ever wish that Indians should go through same what Pakistanis are these days…I just wanted to point towards the would be root cause of these attacks..for once and all INDIA and PAKISTAN should come on the table openly…accept what they have done to each other over the years..accept all the wrong doings..say sorry to each other nations and then start new beginning..If whole of Europe after destroying each can become friends and united like a one family of euro..then why cant we..but for this India or Indians should come up with a attitude of equality and respect…Peace to all…

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  • Sher Zaman
    Jul 14, 2011 - 3:15PM

    This is a very sad incident indeed. India has remained peaceful after the Mumbai attacks. Lets these blasts doesn’t ignite another cold war between the two neighbors.

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  • adam
    Jul 14, 2011 - 4:26PM

    may be wrong but this low intensity but well coordinated attacks raise suspicions that those who planned this don’t want to cause more damages to life and property, rather to sabotage a peace process and dialoges between Pak and India

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  • My Name is Khan
    Jul 14, 2011 - 4:29PM

    People of Mumbai – we are with you. Please forgive my zenophobic countrymen for they have no education and are the children of General Zia. They were raised on textbooks with false information and live in a world dominated by the Imran Khans and Zaid Hamids of the world. They have a mist covering their eyes which prevents them from seeing the truth.

    I hope India takes full action against whoever was responsible for these terrorist attacks. The Pakistani Armed Forces and ISI have repeatedly shown that they are unwilling to take on terrorists so we are left to hoping that US drones destroy them in FATA and they are somehow killed in “encounters” in cities.

    We must all defeat terrorism so our children can grow up in a safe world. There are no good terrorists. They must all be eliminated and we must promote open-minded, tolerant education so we can all grow our economies instead of fighting.

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  • saeed
    Jul 14, 2011 - 6:45PM

    @delhi-se…don’t have any interest in your views about me..you are of a same category. My comment on this article to Mira is the answer of his so many comments on other articles related to these attacks…Mirza is very well aware of it what I am talking about and also those people who have recommended my comments….my this comment was not published in the actual article where I replied to mirza so I copy pasted it here…I have nothing against Indians. As there are so many Indians who don’t have any prejudice or stereotyping against Pakistan. In which people like you don’t get counted so I am against this mind set and thinking. I am against this thinking that every problem and fault lies with Pakistan and Pakistanis. Instead I want people like you to see the other side of the coin. And this is the point people like you and mirza get offended…yes we have a lot if issues in our society …but this does not give any one the license to disrespect Pakistanis…this is the thinking I am against. And I have seen people like mirza joking around on strategic assets on the articles of suicide bombing and killing of army personnel. So mister mirza this is answer to you…have you ever condoled Pakistanis getting killed in drone attacks and army personnel getting killed fighting against Taliban, have you ever did that
    Again we Pakistanis don’t wish anything ill to Indians. We don’t want any other country to go through from the hell we are going through…no one wants innocent to be killed and every one should condole this. If innocent people get killed in drone attacks and in Pakistan also…I would like to see the same comments. Not any jokes on strategic assets..

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  • Gautam
    Jul 14, 2011 - 9:37PM

    Bravo to My Name is Khan. If all Muslims were of similar mind, the world would be a different place to live in.

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  • Sikandar
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:38PM

    Dear Friends,

    let us not be fooled by saying that terrorist dont have religion etc. they do have everything what we have. We can do this much please not support anyone but one thing is for sure this time it is not from Pakistan because it itself is in deep trouble but then we cannot say anything

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  • Sikandar
    Jul 14, 2011 - 11:41PM

    @Ozymandias: Sure most of them and us have not heard of Abhinav Bharat but everyone has heard about Jihadi terrorist. Does this ring any bell.

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  • Mirza
    Jul 15, 2011 - 1:26AM

    @Mahesh Patil:
    @delhi_se:
    Thanks for the kind words. I feel there is too much hate in that part of the world. Even though I am working and living in North America, my heart and soul is still lives there. Some rightwing military touts cannot hear the truth and come to the personl attacks. I have learned to live with that, and it is a part of life no matter how unfortunate it is.
    My family loves to travel and spread the message of love and friendship. However, these terrorists are making it impossible, but we would not give up.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza, USA

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  • Jul 15, 2011 - 5:51PM

    Really Sad for India!!! This is the only place – Zaveri Bazaar in World that 3 times bomb explosive happened… please IB of India do something with all the things.. still so many cases are pending like in Pune German backery, Varansi Blast, etc…

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