Terrorists Murder 66 Passengers on India's Friendship Train
** The BBC has video of the train blasts recovery efforts HERE.
It was learnt that IEDs were crude devices in which potassium nitrite and sulphur were filled into cylindrical tubes along with bottles containing kerosene with timers. Several similar packets were also kept in different places in the bogeys.
Most of the passengers traveling on the Friendship Train from New Delhi were Pakistani citizens.
A burning train carriage is seen in this TV grab taken in Shiba, near Panipat town, February 19, 2007. Two homemade bombs exploded aboard a train bound from India to Pakistan burning to death at least 64 passengers on Monday in what the Indian government called ‘an act of terror’. (REUTERS/NDTV)
The Indian railway minister admitted that there had been a lapse in train security.
Terrorists set off two explosions on a train from Indai to Pakistan killing at least 66 passengers north of New Delhi today.
The AP reports:
A pair of explosions on a train headed for Pakistan set off a fire that killed at least 66 people, some of whom became trapped when a train door was fused shut by the heat of the flames. Officials said the attack was aimed at disrupting improving relations between the rivals.
Bharti Arora, superintendent of the Haryana state railway police, put the death toll at 66 but authorities warned it could rise.
“From the less damaged coach, some people were seen jumping out with their bodies on fire,” Arora said.
At least 30 passengers were hospitalized in the nearby town of Panipat, though they were later moved to larger medical facilities, officials said. A dozen critically injured people were brought to New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, a hospital statement said.
Authorities said two suitcases packed with unexploded crude bombs and bottles of gasoline were found in cars not hit in the attack, leading them to suspect the fire was set off by identical explosive devices. V.N. Mathur, general manager of the Northern Railway, confirmed that there had been two explosions.
India’s junior home Minster, Sriprakash Jaiswal, said the homemade bombs were not powerful, and were simply intended to start a fire on the train, one day before Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri was to arrive in New Delhi for talks on the ongoing peace process.
“This is an act of sabotage,” Railway Minister Laloo Prasad told reporters in Patna, India. “This is an attempt to derail the improving relationship between India and Pakistan.”
The Guardian posted a chronology of major Indian train attacks.
Graphic showing the New Delhi-Lahore rail-line, after the blast on the train service near Panipat in India that has killed dozens of people(AFP Graphic)
The train cars had bars placed over the windows for security reasons.
Rescue workers inspect the wreckage of a train in this TV grab in Shiba, near Panipat town, February 19, 2007. (Reuters)