Page last updated at 04:09 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 05:09 UK

Jaipur deals with blast aftermath

By Geeta Pandey
BBC News, Jaipur

Injured victim of blast in hospital
Hundreds of doctors and nurses tend the wounded

The blood-splattered remains of Tuesday's serial bomb explosions in Jaipur are being cleared away.

Eight blasts, within minutes of each other, sent shock waves across the city.

The first at around 1915 at Badi Chaupad, or the Big Square, did not kill anyone. The bomb was kept near the road, there were not too many people around, police say.

But minutes later, another explosion just across the street, caused mayhem.

Brightly coloured glass bangles, some broken, others intact, are piled here in a corner.

Cardboard boxes, paper and plastic bags are littered everywhere.

An abandoned shoe an indication of what happened here a few hours ago.

There was complete panic, people started running away. I too ran home after that. I told my children to get inside the house.
Rama Shankar

All other explosions also targeted markets packed with shoppers and temples teeming with devotees.

Everywhere, the explosives were kept in bags which were hung on to bicycles.

In Bapu Bazaar, outside the temple of the monkey god, Hanuman, forensic experts are examining the mangled remains of a cycle.

"Look, the tyres are still clean. They have no mud. It shows the cycle was new," Constable Bahadur Singh points out.

Police say all the bikes used in the blasts were brand new, probably purchased for the purpose of carrying out the attacks.


The bomb blast aftermath

Less than 10 feet away from the temple stands a gleaming new motorbike.

"It belonged to Constable Shahnawaz. He was on duty in front of the temple. He was among those killed in the blast," says police officer Pushpendra Singh.

A few hundred metres away in the Jauhari Market, another explosion took place next to a vendor selling snacks.

It sent his makeshift stall flying.

Littered on the roadside are boiled potatoes, slices of bread, chick peas, a packet of Amul butter and paper plates.

A red car parked nearby has multiple shrapnel holes and there are blood stains all around.

Blood on road after bomb blast, Jaipur
Bomb debris litters the streets

The flower market in Chhoti Chaupad or the Small Square - the scene of another blast - has been washed clean.

"I was sitting nearby, enjoying the cool air near the fountain, when I heard a huge blast. It was deafening. And then there was fire," says Rama Shankar, an eyewitness.

"People were running with buckets of water, trying to put out the fire. And then we heard two more loud bangs.

"There was complete panic. People started running away. I too ran home after that. I told my children to get inside the house. It was frightening."

Mr Shankar says he escaped because he was lucky. But many others were not.

Rain of shrapnel

At the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur, several dozen injured people are lying in the trauma ward.

Mohammad Fareed had just alighted from a rickshaw when he was hit by a rain of shrapnel in Badi Chaupad near the bangle-seller.

"It was like lightning hit me," he says. "And then I was lying down by the road side.

"People were running around, shouting 'blast, blast'. Some people helped me and then the police arrived and brought me to the hospital."

Fareed has a fractured arm and the bandage covering it is soaked in blood.

He has shrapnel wounds in the chest from where a pipe drains out blood into a plastic bottle.

Forensic experts check remains of bicycle
Forensic experts check the remains of a bicycle

At the hospital, 500 to 600 doctors, nurses and paramedics have spent the night tending to casualties.

"We have counted 55 bodies, almost all of them were brought dead to the hospital," says Dr Narpat Singh Shekhawat, the hospital superintendent.

"An equal number have been operated upon and they are recovering in the hospital," he says.

Regaining consciousness

Among them is 22-year-old Hanuman. He has been operated for injuries in his abdomen and a tube is attached to his nose.

He has just regained consciousness.

"I had gone to the Hanuman temple to pray. Tuesdays are special days when you worship Lord Hanuman.

"I was standing in the back, hands folded, praying. When the blast happened, I fell down. I have no idea what happened after that. Some people brought me to the hospital," he says.

Standing by his bedside, his uncle Madan Lal looks worried.

"This is the first time he has regained consciousness. We heard about the blasts from television.

"We knew he went to Hanuman temple on Tuesdays so we started looking for him. The blasts took place around 7.30 in the evening, we found him only at two in the morning.

"We hope he recovers soon."

Hanuman is weak and it will take time before he recovers.

Some here say the wounded psyche of this thriving city will take a lot longer to heal.

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