Mumbai back at work

13 Jul 2006

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MUMBAI, July 12: Mumbai’s legendary never-say-die spirit was on display on Wednesday, just a day after a series of blasts ripped through seven suburban trains, killing about 200 people and injuring nearly 750.

Local trains on both the Western and Central railway were packed as commuters headed for work during the morning peak hours, while investors at the Bombay Stock Exchange ignored the terrorist attacks, and drove the Sensex, the benchmark index, up by three per cent.

As India’s financial and commercial hub limped back to normalcy yesterday, investigators began searching the charred remains of the seven train compartments for telltale signs of the explosives that were used by the terrorists.

The seven blasts, which occurred in a span of 11 minutes on Tuesday evening, tore open the roofs of some railway stations, besides ripping open the first-class compartments. All the blasts occurred in the western corridor, near the Matunga, Mahim, Bandra, Khar, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Mira Road stations.

Six million commuters travel by Mumbai’s suburban trains daily, and nearly half of them on the Western Railway.

Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister R. R. Patil, who is also in-charge of the home portfolio, said the government would give a reward of Rs2.5 million to anyone providing information about the terrorists behind Tuesday’s blasts.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who accompanied Congress President Sonia Gandhi and federal Home Minister Shivraj Patil to the city late Tuesday night, also announced a compensation of half a million rupees to dependants of those who were killed in the blasts.

But gory scenes were witnessed at about a dozen public hospitals as relatives desperately tried to identify their family members in morgues where unidentified bodies had been dumped.

Many of the victims who had been hospitalised were still in critical condition and government sources feared the toll might mount.