Three powerful blasts, timed to strike within minutes of each other, killed at least 55 and injured over 155 people triggering off a wave of fear and panic across a festive city out on Saturday evening, shopping for Diwali and Id next week. Casualty figures are expected to rise but this is already the biggest single-day terrorist strike in the Capital. Two hours after the police had defused a bomb at Khari Baoli, came the first explosion. At around 5.40 pm, it ripped through the busy Paharganj market near the New Delhi railway station. The market, frequented by backpack foreign tourists, was thronged with Diwali and Id shoppers. Eleven were feared killed here. Police said they suspect the bomb was planted in a rickshaw. The rickshaw-driver, who was killed, was identified late on Saturday as Sadanand Paswan, 35, of Bihar.
Vinod Gupta, who runs a textile shop at Paharganj, said a woman and her two-year-old child were thrown up in the air as they stepped out of his shop. ``My father and brother who were outside the shop were seriously injured,'' he said. Eyewitnesses said when the thick smoke that engulfed the area cleared; they saw body parts on the streets. The maximum deaths occurred with the next explosion in the overcrowded Sarojini Nagar market in South Delhi where a bomb placed in a bag in a chat and juice shop went off at around 5.45 pm killing more than 39 people. Seven minutes later, another explosion rocked Govindpuri injuring 9 persons including the driver and conductor of a Delhi Transport Corporation bus on the Outer Ring Road route. The bus was packed when the blast happened.
The bus tragedy could have been much worse had it not been for the alertness of the conductor and the driver who noticed an "unclaimed bag" lying on a seat. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said it was too early to say who was behind the blasts
At least 50 people were feared killed when eight coaches of a passenger train derailed early Saturday near Bibinagar in Nalgonda district, about 80 km east of Hyderabad.
Three of the derailed coaches of Repalle-Secunderabad Delta Express fell into three feet deep water overflowing from a nearby reservoir, while other coaches were dragged to a distance of about 100 metres after the derailment at 4.20 a.m.
Eyewitnesses said bodies of 10 passengers including three children were taken out from one of the derailed coaches and there could be more people trapped in.
Manohar, a passenger in one of the derailed compartments of the train, said the casualties could be anywhere between 50 and 100. However, officials of South Central Railway (SCR) had so far not given any figures of dead or injured. Local police and civilian officials, who rushed to the accident site, suspected floodwaters from a nearby reservoir had either washed away a part of the track or weakened the ground underneath resulting in the derailment.
The reservoir had breached due to incessant rains since Friday. The general manager of SCR said the authorities had sought help from the army and navy in rescue and relief operations.