Mumbai: Terror struck Mumbai once again on Wednesday when three bomb blasts rocked some of the most crowded places of the city killing at least 17 people and injuring 131 others. The first blast took place at 6:54 PM at south Mumbai's crowded Zaveri Bazaar. Within a few minutes Opera House and Dadar, too, were hit by powerful explosions.
The explosion at Opera House, described by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan as a "high intensity blast", took place at 6:55 PM and was followed by the one at Dadar (7:05 PM).
The blast in Zaveri Bazar took place at Khao Gali while a motorcycle was used to trigger the explosion near the two-storey JK Building at Tata Road No. 1 in Opera House. The blast at Kabootar Khana in Dadar took place in a Maruti Esteem car. Sources have told CNN-IBN that terror group Indian Mujahideen is the prime suspect in the blasts.
The injured have been admitted to several hospitals including the JJ Hospital, GT Hospital, KEM Hospital and St George's Hospital.
Addressing the media in New Delhi, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said that the Ministry would be issuing a statement on the blast after every two hours.
"I would appeal to the people of Mumbai and people of country to remain calm and maintain peace: Apart from three blasts. There is no information of any other blast or threat. NIA (National Investigation Authority) officers have been instructed to be associated with Mumbai Police for investigation. One CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) team from Delhi and one team from Hyderabad have been sent to Mumbai. The NSG (National Security Guards), which has hub in Mumbai, is standing by. The number of injured could be higher and death toll could rise," said Chidambaram.
Chidambaram has called a high-level meeting in the wake of the blasts.
Wednesday blasts took place just two days after the fifth anniversary of the Mumbai serial train blasts on July 11, 2006 in which at least 186 people were killed. The blasts also evoked horrific memories of serial blasts in the past as both Dadar and Zaveri Bazar have been targeted earlier too.
According to an eyewitness a fire that broke out in Zaveri Bazar following the blasts was soon brought under control.
A Border Security Force plane carrying NSG personnel, forensic experts and senior NIA officials reached Mumbai from New Delhi on Wednesday night.
However, Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik claimed that he was not in a position to say who carried out the blasts. Patnaik also said that he could not say whether the arrest of two Indian Mujahideen terrorists was in anyway connected with the blast.
Two suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) members Mohammed Mobin Abdul Shakoor Khan alias Irfan (32) and his cousin Ayub Raja Amin Shaikh (28) were arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad on July 6 in Mumbai.
The injured have been rushed to JJ Hospital, GT Hospital, KEM Hospital and St George's Hospital.
Home Minister P Chidambaram has called a high-level meeting in the wake of the blasts.
Security alerts have been issued in all major cities including New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Guwahati after the blasts.