2006 Mumbai train bombings

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2006 Mumbai train bombings
Mahim train blast.jpg
One of the bomb-damaged coaches at the Mahim station
Location Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Date11 July 2006
18:24 – 18:35 (UTC+05:30)
Target Mumbai Western Line
Attack type
Train bombings
Weapons Pressure cooker bombs
Deaths209
InjuredApproximately 714
AccusedFaisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan

The 2006 Mumbai train bombings were a series of seven bomb blasts on 11 July. They took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation's financial capital. The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains plying on the Western Line Suburban Section of the Mumbai Division of Western Railway. The blasts killed 209 people and injured over 700 more.

Contents

Blasts

Map showing the 'Western line' and blast locations. 11 July 2006 Mumbai bombings - map showing locations.png
Map showing the 'Western line' and blast locations.

Pressure cooker bombs were placed on trains on the Western Line of the suburban ("local") train network, which forms the backbone of the city's transport network. Pressure cookers were used in this bombing and other recent explosions [1] [2] [3] to increase the afterburn in a thermobaric reaction, more powerful than conventional high explosives. [4] The first blast reportedly took place at 18:24 IST (12:54 UTC), and the explosions continued for approximately eleven minutes, until 18:35, [5] during the after-work rush hour. All the bombs had been placed in the first-class "general" compartments (as opposed to compartments reserved for women, called "ladies" compartments) of several trains running from Churchgate, the city-centre end of the western railway line, to the western suburbs of the city. They exploded at or in the near vicinity of the suburban railway stations of Matunga Road, Mahim Junction, Bandra, Khar Road, Jogeshwari, Bhayandar and Borivali. [6] [7] Home Minister Shivraj Patil told reporters that authorities had "some" information an attack was coming, "but place and time was not known". [8]

The bomb attacks in Mumbai came hours after a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar, the largest city in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Home Secretary V K Duggal said there was no link between the Srinagar and Mumbai bomb blasts. [9]

Injuries and fatalities

2006 Mumbai train bombings
Confirmed casualties
TrainBlast locationCarriage typeTime (IST)DeathsInjuredSources
Travelling north
from Churchgate
Khar RoadSantacruz First Class18:249
17:50 Fast Local
Churchgate-Borivali
BandraKhar Road First Class18:2422
17:37 Slow Local
Churchgate-Borivali
Jogeshwari (PF #1)First Class18:2528
17:54 Fast Local
Churchgate-Borivali
Mahim Junction (PF #3)First Class18:2643
Travelling north
from Churchgate
Mira RoadBhayandar First Class18:2931
17:57 Fast Local
Churchgate-Virar
Matunga RoadMahim Junction First Class18:3028
17:37 Fast Local
Churchgate-Virar
Borivali 1First Class18:3526
Total11 minutes209714 [10]
1 One bomb exploded at this location, but another one was found by police and defused. [5]

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R. R. Patil confirmed that a total of 200 people were killed and another 714 others have been injured. [11] Additionally, various news organisations have reported that at least 200 people have died and that more than 700 others have been injured. [12] [13] [14] [15] A week after the blasts in Mumbai the confirmed death toll rose to 207. [16] In September 2006 it was confirmed that the death toll had risen to 209. [17]

Response

A state of high alert was declared in India's major cities. Both the airports in Mumbai were placed on high alert. The western line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway network was at first shut down, although some trains resumed service later, and stringent security arrangements, including frisking and searching of commuters, were instituted on the other lines of the network. The city's bus service, the BEST, pressed extra buses into service to transport stranded commuters home. [18]

The Prime Minister also held a security meeting at his residence attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, and Home Secretary V K Duggal. [19]

Resumption of services and return to normality

Western Railway services were restored on 11 July by 10.45 pm. [20] As a show of investor confidence, the Bombay Stock Exchange rebounded, starting the day with the BSE Sensex Index up by nearly 1% in morning trade. Foreign investors also retained confidence, with the Sensex up almost 3% at 10,930.09 at the end of the day's trade.

Rescue and relief operations

Railway workers cutting a damaged part of the bomb-damaged coaches Rescue efforts.jpg
Railway workers cutting a damaged part of the bomb-damaged coaches

However a study commissioned by former MP Kirit Somaiya noted that only 174 of the 1,077 victims had received compensation through the Railway Claims Tribunal. For the handicapped victims, only 15 out of 235 eligible cases had been taken care of. Regarding the Prime Minister's promise to India concerning the rehabilitation of the victims, L. K. Advani noted that "none of the above mentioned assurances has been fulfilled to any degree of satisfaction" [22]

Sources of information

Due to the mobile phone networks being jammed, news channels ran tickertapes with information of injured individuals as well as SMS messages from those who wished to contact their families. [23] Reports indicated that at around 18:00 UTC on 11 July (midnight in Mumbai), the phone networks were restoring service; telephone service was completely restored during the night.

Mumbai Help, a blog run by around thirty bloggers, was a useful source of information, especially for those outside India.[ citation needed ]

Investigation

Some 350 people were detained 36 hours after the incident in Maharashtra — police claim that these are people rounded up for investigations. [24] On 14 July, Lashkar-e-Qahhar, a terrorist organisation possibly linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), claimed responsibility for the bombings. In an e-mail to an Indian TV channel, the outfit says it organised the bombings using 16 people who are all "safe". According to the e-mail, the main motive seems to have been a retaliation to the situation in the Gujarat and Kashmir regions, possibly referring to the alleged oppression of Muslim minorities in certain parts of the region. It also says that the blasts were part of a series of attacks aimed at other sites such as the Mumbai international airport, Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort in New Delhi. The authorities are investigating this claim and are trying to track the location of the e-mail sender. [25] However, on 17 July, the forensic science laboratory Mumbai has confirmed the use of a mixture of the highly explosive RDX and Ammonium Nitrate for the bombings. The presence of these explosives in the post explosive debris was confirmed by modern techniques such as Liquid Chromatography with mass detector (LCMS), Gas Chromatography with mass detector (GCMS) and Ion Scan Chromatography. They have indicated a strong possibility of all explosives being planted at the Churchgate railway station, which was the starting point for all affected trains. [26]

Initially, religious extremists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India terrorist groups, and Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI were the prime suspects. [27] [28] Both Lashkar and SIMI denied responsibility for the bombings. [29] [30] There was also evidence about the involvement of the international Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda following a phone call from a man claiming to be a spokesperson for the group on 13 July. The alleged al-Qaeda spokesman had said the blasts were a "consequence of Indian oppression and suppression of minorities, particularly Muslims." [31]

On 30 September 2006, CNN reported that "The Indian government accused Pakistan's military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, of planning the 11 July Mumbai train bombings that killed 209 people". [17]

The New York City Police Department was intensely concerned about the attacks, citing their simplicity and lethality. To address these worries, the department deployed Brandon del Pozo, a Jordanian-based intelligence officer, to Mumbai to collect information on the attacks and report on ways they reflected similar vulnerabilities in the New York City's extensive commuter rail system. [32]

Arrests

On 21 July 2006, police arrested three people suspected to be involved in the bombings. [33] Police have detained more than 300 suspects since 18 July but these are the first arrests in the case. [34] Two of the men were detained on Thursday in the northern state of Bihar and the third later in Mumbai. [35] [36] All three are said to belong to the banned SIMI organisation.

On the same day, Abdul Karim Tunda was thought to be arrested in Mombasa, Kenya on suspicions of involvement in the train bombings. [37] but it was the wrong person. He was one of India's most wanted men and also a suspected organiser for the banned Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. [38] He was arrested in 2013 near the Nepal border.

In late 2006, all the seven key accused in the Mumbai train blasts in July retracted their alleged confession to the police, saying they were illegally forced to sign blank papers, an Indian TV channel reported. [39]

Continuing investigation

M K Narayanan, the Indian National Security Advisor, has said that India doesn't have "clinching" evidence of the involvement of ISI in the Mumbai train blasts of 11 July.[ citation needed ]

"I would hesitate to say we have clinching evidence but we have pretty good evidence," he was quoted as saying on CNN-IBN.

Following Narayanan's remarks, the Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal on Monday characterised the evidence as "very good [...] it is fairly solid evidence,". 5 On 25 September 2008, Hindustan Times reported that "the Crime branch also learnt that the men [behind 2008 Delhi bombings] are those very operatives who had introduced themselves as Pakistanis to perpetrators of 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings. [40]

Jemaah Islamiyah is known to use pressure cooker bombs with RDX and like explosives with taggants. Note that Jemaah Islamiyah had operatives in the Pakistan areas active in religious indoctrination and that were working with Egyptian Islamic Jihad through al-Zawahiri who taught on the use of pressure cooker bombs. As such it is quite possible that Jemaah Islamiyah was involved in the attack possibly through Indian Mujahideen which it also forms part of. Note that Jemaah Islamiyah was behind the 9-11 anthrax attacks as well.

Involvement of Indian Mujahideen

On 27 February 2009, Sadiq Sheikh, an arrested leader of the Indian Mujahideen confessed to his alleged role in the bombings in a news channel broadcast. [41] He claimed to have engineered the pressure cooker bombs with his associates in a flat in central Mumbai. If verified, these allegations could invalidate the previous claims by the ATS that the ISI or the SIMI were involved. Sadiq states in his confession, ‘'All five of us arranged local first class train passes beforehand. We also had the local train time table with us so that we could choose a train as per our convenience. We purchased bags and pressure cookers in Bombay.'’ He also claimed to have misled investigators by blaming the attacks on the Al-Qaeda. On 6 April 2013, IM co-founder Sadiq Sheikh declared hostile witness by defence advocates. [42]

Convictions

In September 2015, 12 people were convicted in this case. [43] On 30 September 2015, a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court sentenced to death Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan who planted the bombs in various trains. [44] [45]

The other seven convicts—Mohammed Sajid Ansari, who prepared the electrical circuits for the bombs, Mohammed Ali, who provided his Govandi residence to make the bombs, Dr Tanveer Ansari, one of the conspirators, and Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Shaikh who provided logistical support – were sentenced to life. [46]

Impact

Heightened security measures

In wake of the blasts, the Indian government tightened security in railway stations. Under new restrictions passed by the Ministry of Railways, non-passengers would no longer be allowed on the railway platforms after July 2006. Other major security steps include installation of close circuit televisions inside the stations for round-the-clock vigil and installation of metal detectors. [47]

Statements in response

Various senior political figures from India and around the world condemned the attacks. In India, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was quick to call for calm in Mumbai, while President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, and president of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi also issued statements regarding the bombings in Mumbai. Officials from other nations offered their condolences to those affected by the bombings. Officials, from Pakistan which has long feuded with India, and the United Kingdom, which was the target of similar attacks the previous July, were among those who denounced the attacks in Mumbai as well as terrorism as a whole. Several terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Toiba and al-Qaeda, made comments — both in condemnation and condonation — about the attacks as well.

Memorial service

A memorial service was held in Mumbai on 18 July at 6:25 pm local time [48] — exactly one week after the blasts. President Abdul Kalam, his hand raised to his forehead in salute, led the two-minute silence as people lit candles and placed wreaths at Mahim station, one of the seven places on the suburban rail network hit by bombs. Sirens sounded across Mumbai marking the memorial service. [49] People gathered at the site of the blasts, in railway stations on the city's Western Line, traffic came to a halt, It interrupted films and observed a moment of silence to pay homage to the victims.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Lashkar-e-Taiba Pakistani militant group

Lashkar-e-Taiba is a extremist Islamic militant organization and one of the largest Islamic organizations in Pakistan. It was founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal with funding from Osama bin Laden.

Statements in response to the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings came from heads of state, political leaders, and militant leaders from around the world. Most offered some sort of condemnation of the attacks and commented on terrorism as a whole.

2006 Malegaon bombings

The 2006 Malegaon bombings were a series of bomb blasts that took place on 8 September 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Nashik district of the Indian state of Maharashtra, 290 km northeast of Mumbai. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) initially blamed the bombings on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), but a chargesheet filed in 2013 put the blame on the extremist group Abhinav Bharat.

The following is the account given by the Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorist Squad of the investigation of the July 11, 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts which killed 209 people and injured over 700. A series of seven bomb blasts that took place over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, the capital of Indian state of Maharashtra and the nation's financial capital. The bombs were set off in pressure cookers on trains plying the Western line of the Suburban Railway network. The convicts have been punished. 5 were sentenced to death and 7 were sentenced to life in prison.

The 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing was a terrorist attack that occurred around midnight on 18 February 2007 on the Samjhauta Express, a twice-weekly train service connecting Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. Bombs were set off in two carriages, both filled with passengers, just after the train passed Diwana near the Indian city of Panipat, 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of New Delhi. 70 people were killed in the ensuing fire and dozens more were injured. Of the 70 fatalities, most were Pakistani civilians. The victims also included some Indian civilians and three railway policemen.

2008 Bangalore serial blasts occurred on 25 July 2008 in Bangalore, India. A series of nine bombs exploded in which one person was killed and 20 injured. According to the Bangalore City Police, the blasts were caused by low-intensity crude bombs triggered by timers.

The 2008 Ahmedabad bombings were a series of 21 bomb blasts that hit Ahmedabad, India, on 26 July 2008, within a span of 70 minutes. Fifty-six people were killed and over 200 people were injured. Ahmedabad is the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat state, and a large part of western India. The blasts were considered to be of low intensity, and were similar to the Bangalore blasts, Karnataka which occurred the day before.

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Rinto Augustine Joseph is a suspected bomb-maker and one of the most wanted terrorists in India and has been called India's Osama Bin Laden. He is suspected to be associated with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and is thought to have been responsible for participating in the Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi bombings. He is also a suspect in the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings. He is more commonly known as Tauqeer and is believed to be the signer in the Indian Mujahideen terror email as al-Arabi. Abdul Subhan Qureshi was arrested by Delhi Police in January 2018. He is listed on the NIA Most Wanted list.

Mumbai is the financial capital of India and one of the most populous cities in the world. Bombay grew into a leading commercial center of British India during the 19th century on the basis of textile mills and overseas trade. After independence from British rule, the desire to domesticate a Marathi social and linguistic Bombay to a cosmopolitan framework was strongly expressed in the 1950s. Bombay, one of the earliest cities in India to be industrialized, emerged as the centre of strong organized labour movement in India, which inspired labour movements across India.

The history of Mumbai during the 21st century recounts the Indian city of Mumbai in the 21st century when the city suffered several terrorist attacks.

2008 Mumbai attacks Terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008

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Attribution of the 2008 Mumbai attacks were first made by the Indian authorities who said that the Mumbai attacks were directed by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants inside Pakistan. American intelligence agencies also agree with this attribution. Pakistan initially contested this attribution, but agreed this was the case on 7 January 2009. To back up its accusations, the Indian government supplied a dossier to Pakistan's high commission in Delhi. The Pakistan government dismissed the dossier as "not evidence," but also announced that it had detained over a hundred members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba. In February 2009, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik agreed that "some part of the conspiracy" did take place in Pakistan.

Saffron terror is a neologism used to describe acts of violence motivated by Hindu nationalism, usually perpetrated by members, or alleged members, of Hindu nationalist organisations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Abhinav Bharat. The term comes from the symbolic use of the saffron colour by many Hindu nationalist organisations.

During and immediately after the 2008 Mumbai attacks the news media worldwide broadcast incorrect factual information on a scale often seen in a fog of war. Erroneous reporting on the 2008 Mumbai attacks included false information concerning the number of attackers, their nationality, their organizational affiliations, origins, and the methods of transport they had used. Theories and speculations were openly aired by various commentators that were later proved to be wrong. Many such speculations, such as the involvement in the attacks of the "Deccan Mujahideen", were widely reported by media worldwide. Various news outlets carried opinion pieces and unattributed theories about the origins of the attackers which were unfounded.

Sayed Zabiuddin Ansaria.k.a.Abu Hamza or Abu Jundal is an Indian Islamic militant belonging to Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is accused of being involved in 2008 Mumbai attacks. Zabiuddin Ansari 's name was listed in the list of "50 most wanted criminals sheltered in Pakistan" released by India on 21 May 2011. He served as the handler of the 10 LeT terrorists during 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), intelligence agency of Pakistan has been involved in planning, preparing and carrying-out terrorist attacks against the people of Indian and running so-called "military intelligence" programs in India, with one of the subsections of its Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) department devoted to carrying out these acts of terrorism in India. The Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau (JSIB) department has also been involved in providing communications support to Pakistani terrorists operating in regions of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir of India. The Joint Intelligence North section of the Joint Counter-Intelligence Bureau (JCIB) wing deals particularly with India. In the 1950s the ISI's Covert Action Division supplied arms to insurgents in Northeast India.

Pressure cooker bomb type of bomb

A pressure cooker bomb is an improvised explosive device (IED) created by inserting explosive material into a pressure cooker and attaching a blasting cap into the cover of the cooker.

Darsgah-Jihad-O-Shahadat is an Islamist group based in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, with branches in the state of Kerala. The group claims to have trained about 50,000 people in self-defence techniques at its training camps in Hazrat Ujale Shah Idgah grounds at Saidabad and Purani Haveli.

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