Scared women keep off trains fearing more blasts

News of the serial blasts in Mumbai triggered widespread chaos in South Mumbai. The bustling business areas and office quarters near Charni Road and Marine Lines station saw panic-stricken crowds and office-goers rushing home.

Pravinbhai Tanna, an eyewitness at Zaveri Bazaar — the worst-affected area in the terror strikes — said many women took refuge in his shop nearby.

“The women were scared. They did not want to take the train as they thought there would be more blasts and trains would stop running,” he told The Hindu at the blast site.

Combing operations

Teams of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), armed commandos in bullet-proof vests and bomb disposal squads of the State Police were combing the affected areas. The bomb squads with sniffer dogs were inspecting scooters, bicycles and all the parked vehicles in the crowded, narrow and congested areas of Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House. The continuous drizzle and the evening darkness made their task increasingly difficult.

High tension and bitter street battles were witnessed on the streets of Dadar, the third site of a high intensity blast, where Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers clashed. The Sena claimed that they had helped rush the victims to the hospital, which the MNS contested. A war of words escalated into a big fight.

Search operations and investigations continued amid the chaos at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House. The police had a tough time clearing the area of onlookers as the rope barricades were not enough to keep them away.

The wreckage of a car and a motorcycle was seen at the Panchavati diamond chowk at Opera House. Many were seen taking pictures and recording the proceedings.

At the Harkishandas and Saifee hospitals, there was utter chaos as distraught relatives of patients made desperate attempts to get in.

Hospital authorities pleaded with the relatives to maintain peace while regular updates were provided at the gates. Both the hospitals shut their gates and barricaded the entrances.

Keywords: Mumbai blasts

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