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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 October 2005, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
Chaos and confusion in Delhi
Arun Gupta
Arun Gupta said he saw blood-covered bodies in the street
Eyewitnesses have been describing horrific scenes at the sites of three suspected bomb blasts in India's capital, Delhi.

Arun Gupta told the BBC News website he was only 45 metres (150ft) from the site of the explosion in the central neighbourhood of Paharganj, an area popular with Western backpackers.

"I was stunned by the deafening sound, I dived for cover. Then after the smoke cleared I could see lots of people running in all directions.

"I headed from where the sound had come from. I saw blood-covered bodies on the street... There was panic all around."

Mr Gupta, general secretary of the association of guest houses in Paharganj, said the blasts had come at the worst possible time - three days before the Hindu festival of Diwali and the start of the tourist season.

'Black smoke'

Babu Lal Khandelwal, a shop owner in the Paharganj neighbourhood, said the force of the blast knocked him to the ground.

"There was black smoke everywhere. When the smoke was cleared and I could see, there were people bloody and people lying in the street," he told the Associated Press news agency.

I saw three horribly charred and mutilated bodies being carried in makeshift stretchers
Paul Danahar

Roy Senger, an Israeli tourist, told the BBC News website: "I was with my wife in Connaught Place, which is about five metres from here.

"We heard the blast. The taxi driver dropped us outside the street as we tried to return to our guest house [in Paharganj].

"It was very scary - we had to go back through the place [where the blast occurred] which was terrifying. Not a good thing to see."

The BBC's Paul Danahar said the southern Sarojini Nagar central market, where another blast went off, had become a scene of chaos and confusion.

Firefighters in Sarojini Nagar market
Sarojini Nagar market was packed at the time of the explosion

"It was packed with people shopping for the Hindu festival of Diwali on Tuesday and the Muslim festival of Eid on Friday," he said.

"The fire brigade here are still putting out the flames which engulf the low rise shops in the shopping centre.

"I saw three horribly charred and mutilated bodies being carried in makeshift stretchers away from the central market."

Mahashweta Bhattacharya was shopping at the Sarojini Nagar market and was caught up in the stampede after the explosion.

The fire flared up, smoke started billowing and it was thick and black. It felt like an earthquake
Mahashweta Bhattacharya

"Nobody had any inkling of what was to come," she told the BBC News website. "The blast was enormous and deafening. It took us a few seconds to realise that the situation was serious and then there was panic.

"The fire flared up, smoke started billowing and it was thick and black. It felt like an earthquake.

"The market became a near-stampede and so we went with them. Our first thought was to get out of the area before the fire spread.

"Now that we know exactly what happened, we are feeling extremely disoriented and sad."

'Totally shaken'

Amit Golani was also shopping in Sarojini Nagar market when he was caught up in the panic that followed the blasts.

"There was an incredibly festive atmosphere as families were all out shopping.

"I heard a massive blast and then people started running. I saw a circle of smoke in the sky and then fires broke out, their flames reaching up into the air.

"I was with my sister and my mother and my first instinct was to protect them and to get them away from the scene.

"At the moment, I'm totally shaken and I can't quite understand what has happened in my city."

I saw smoke and fire, the windows were shattered and there was blood on the road
Amandeep Chani

Shopkeeper Bansi Lal told the AFP news agency he had struggled to aid those caught in the market explosion.

"There were two foreigners who were on fire and they were begging me to help them. But I was in a daze. I could not help them."

Amandeep Chani told the BBC News website he had seen a bus explode just metres from him in the Okhla district of Delhi.

"A bus passed me and as it moved further down the road, it suddenly blew up. It was a powerful blast. I saw smoke and fire, the windows were shattered and there was blood on the road.

"I remember the noise, it was so loud, and then people were running in all directions. I tried to run but I couldn't move. I just froze, I was so shocked.

"I can't even think about what to do now. I'm still shivering. So many people were hurt and when I went closer to the scene I saw three dead bodies. "


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