Police seek Mumbai bombs evidence

Injured passenger being carried from train

The blast occurred at the height of the evening rush hour

Indian police are hunting for clues as to who was behind Tuesday’s bomb attacks on Mumbai’s train network which killed 174 people and injured 485.

Bomb squads and sniffer dogs are combing the wrecked carriages where the seven co-ordinated blasts occurred.

And police have carried out a series of raids across Maharashtra, the state in which Mumbai (Bombay) lies.

Mumbai is India’s financial capital and the near-simultaneous blasts happened at the height of the evening rush hour.

Amputations

More than 12 hours after the attacks many people are still frantically searching for relatives, travelling from hospital to hospital for news of the injured.

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We saw bodies lying around – it was horrifying
Jay, Mumbai

“Doctors are still working, there are operations going on, there are amputations going on, a lot of people have suffered multiple injuries,” Anumeha Yadav, a reporter for the Indian Express, told the BBC’s World Today programme.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which the Indian government says were highly planned.

The blasts all happened in fast trains and inside first class carriages on the Western Railway, one of Mumbai’s three main train networks.

Skeleton service

The city’s suburban train system is one of the busiest in the world, carrying more than six million commuters a day.

Relatives of bomb victims outside Mumbai hospital

Anxious relatives are still waiting for news of their loved ones

The fast trains run on separate fast tracks, and although trains on the adjacent slow tracks are now moving, in the immediate aftermath of the blasts the city’s entire rail network was shut down, stranding hundreds of thousands of people in the city overnight.

Many spent the night at the homes of relatives or were put up in schools and colleges.

BBC’s Zubair Ahmed in Mumbai says that a skeleton service has now been restored and the railway authorities said they were hoping to restore two-thirds of the services by Wednesday afternoon.

Appeal for calm

Security has been increased in Mumbai and other Indian cities and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed for people to “remain calm, not to believe rumours, and carry on their activity normally”.

Our correspondent says the test will be whether large numbers of commuters journey into the city on Wednesday morning as usual or choose to stay away.

Map

Police said the co-ordinated explosions took place at Matunga, Khar, Mahim, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Bhayandar, with most on moving trains and two at stations.

The first blast went off at about 1830 local time (1300 GMT), during the rush hour. Correspondents spoke of scenes of pandemonium, with people jumping from trains and bodies flung onto tracks.

An eyewitness at Mahim told the BBC some of those who had jumped from the train were run over by another train coming in the opposite direction.

The force of the blasts ripped doors and windows off carriages, and scattered luggage. Clothes and shoes were strewn along the tracks.

Compensation

The Indian railway minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav, has announced financial help for the victims and their relatives. He said relatives of those killed will get 500,000 rupees ($11,000) each.

Injured man lying on bed

Mumbai’s medical facilities were overwhelmed with casualties

He has promised jobs for the victims’ relatives and said the railways would also bear treatment costs for the injured.

The attacks are the worst in the city for more than a decade. More than 250 people died in a string of blasts in the city in 1993.

Analysts say Mumbai has been a repeated target because it is a financial hub and a centre for the underworld.

The blasts came hours after suspected Islamic extremists killed seven people in grenade attacks in the summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar.

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