One dead, 14 injured in twin blasts on a Chennai train
A young woman was killed and 14 injured Thursday when twin blasts in quick succession tore through two coaches of an express train that had chugged into the Chennai station, authorities said.
The explosions triggered panic at the busy railway station, with the bloodied and wounded crying out in pain.
The blasts came barely two days after a Sri Lankan, Mohammed Zakir Hussain, was arrested here on the charge of plotting to damage vital installations in the state and about a week after the state voted for all its 39 parliamentary constituencies April 24.
"The blasts occurred in two coaches - S4 and S5 - of the Bangalore-Guwahati train around 7.15 a.m," Inspector General of Police (Railways) Seema Agarwal told IANS.
She said the injured have been admitted to a government hospital and the two coaches have been separated from the train for investigations.
A person at the station told IANS: "The blast sound was not very loud. On seeing people running away from the train, we learnt something was wrong."
He said there was not much of a damage to the rail coach and only a seat was damaged. Inside the compartment, the passenger baggages were strewn around.
The Chennai Central Railway Station handles a staggering 200 trains every day.
Railway porters told reporters they were moving towards the train on its arrival when they heard the blast and passengers rushed out of the bogies in panic.
The porters ran to the ill-fated coaches and helped the injured passengers and others to get out.
Southern Railway general manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters that 22-year-old Swathi from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh was killed and two other passengers have suffered serious injuries.
The other injured are not in a serious condition.
The train scheduled to arrive at 5.40 a.m. was running late by around an hour and a half.
Agarwal said investigations are on and it was too early to say the kind of bomb that went off.
"We will be checking the (antecedents of the) passengers in the two coaches at a later date," she said.
Soon after the blasts, bomb squad began its probe.
Following a check on the other coaches, the train was flagged off after detaching the two bogies.
The police said closed circuit television pictures at Bangalore will also be checked.
A top Tamil Nadu Police official said the cause of explosion is yet to be ascertained.
Tamil Nadu Chief Mininister J. Jayalalithaa expressed her grief at the death of a woman and injuries to 14 people.
She said: "I have ordered the police to investigate the crime along with the Railway Police and bring the culprits before the law and punish them."
She also announced a solatium of Rs.100,000 to the family of the dead, Rs.50,000 to those who suffered serious injuries and Rs.25,000 to other injured people.
Following the blasts on the train, security at all the major railway stations were beefed up.
According to Southern Railway's General Manager Rakesh Mishra, an ex-gratia of Rs.100,000 has been announced for the kin of the dead, Rs.25,000 for those who suffered serious injuries and Rs.5,000 for those who suffered minor injuries.
The railways has set up a helpline number - 044-25357398. - IANS