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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Eyewitness: Chaos follows Bombay blasts

By Zubair Ahmed
BBC correspondent in Bombay

Police and people look on at the site of a bomb blast at Zaveri Bazar in Bombay, India
The onlookers hampered the rescue effort
I reached Zaveri Bazar, Bombay's crowded gold market.

Police had cordoned off the area. The rumour was that a temple in Zaveri Bazar had been attacked - but it wasn't true.

The blast had occurred outside an old multi-storeyed building, which had a number of shops on the ground floor and residential flats upstairs.

I could see a Fiat taxi, completely mangled.

Residents and shopkeepers said the bomb was kept in the boot of that car.

"My shopkeeper friend is badly injured and he's in hospital," one man told me.

You can't imagine what I saw. Bodies strewn around... I saw limbs, pieces of flesh and blood
Prashant Zaveri
"I heard an explosion and immediately lots of people came out. I saw bodies lying around. We called the ambulance."

There was complete chaos. The blast had happened in an extremely crowded market place. It was lunch time.

One man said that if it had happened at 1600, there would have been more casualties.

Hundreds of onlookers, agitated and angry, were making the job of looking for clues very difficult.

Frantic filming

"You can't imagine what I saw. Bodies strewn around. I was in my flat when I heard a deafening sound. The building shook from its foundation. I came out rushing down and I saw limbs, pieces of flesh and blood," a local resident Prashant Zaveri said.

"I joined the neighbours. We put people inside cars, carts, whatever we could find and sent the injured to hospitals," he said.

Fire brigades were there, but media people and camera crews had occupied one of their vehicles and were filming frantically.

Broken pieces of glass, blood stains and smashed cars and shops could be seen in a radius of a 100-metre area from the spot where the blast had taken place.

The market has hundreds of jewellers, several of them had been damaged.

Chaos ruled, because nobody knew what to do.

But soon police sniffer dogs arrived and began collecting samples of the body parts still thrown around.

A local shopkeeper, picked up a few charred pieces of what looked like flesh and said the terrorists must be punished.

He was shaking with anger. Another resident claimed that police arrived quite late.

Rumours were being fed by all and sundry.

'Beyond description'

"The explosion was so loud my ear drums almost got ruptured. I have never seen an scene like this. I don't think I will ever see a scene like this again," an angry man, who identified himself as Arvind Kalu said.

He added that he had heard that four blasts had happened.

"You should see what they have done to us. Mumbai (as Bombay is known) is not safe," he said

More than 50 bodies have been sent to various hospitals and we don't know how many were killed
Police official

"I was in my office, a kilometre from here. I heard a loud noise. I was told there was a series of bomb blasts. I came rushing home. What I saw was beyond description," one man said.

"Windows were shattered, car windscreens smashed and broken glass everywhere."

"I am not from here, but I heard the sound at Mandvi Post office, you can say it's 15 minutes walk from here. I heard the sound... All broken pieces of glass here. It was a very big explosion," said another man.

Soon senior police officers and the city's top administrators arrived and looked around, looking for clues to the explosion.

"More than 50 bodies have been sent to various hospitals and we don't know how many were killed," one of them said.

By this time, TV crews and reporters were being prevented from taking pictures.

A scuffle broke out between them and the police.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"There are scenes of chaos in the city"



SEE ALSO:
Dispute over Ayodhya ruins
25 Aug 03 |  South Asia
Strike after Bombay bus bomb
30 Jul 03 |  South Asia
Anti-terror squad for Bombay
28 May 03 |  South Asia
Fear after Bombay train blast
14 Mar 03 |  South Asia
Search for Bombay bombs
28 Jan 03 |  South Asia


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