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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Eyewitness: Blast carnage in Malegaon
By Samanthi Dissanayake
BBC News website

Eyewitnesses have been describing the bloody aftermath of massive blasts at a Muslim burial ground in the town of Malegaon in western India.

One of the first people on the scene was legal advocate, Uday Kulkarni.

Injured boy in Malegaon
More than 125 people were injured in the blasts
"I was in court, but as soon as we came to know of the blasts, I rushed to the scene.

"The atmosphere was total panic. Everyone was running here and there. I saw many people who were badly injured. I saw horrible things," he told the BBC News website.

The blast happened on a day when Muslims pray for their dead and people had congregated in the town's main burial ground.

Mr Kulkarni said he believed that among the dead were many beggars who congregated near the gates of the graveyard. He said he had little choice but to help the injured.

I saw three children, aged about six or seven - they were dead
Dr Vardhaman Lodha
"There were people without hands and feet. Everyone was rushing to the hospitals in the town. So I helped two men as well. We went to hospital in an auto rickshaw.

"As soon as we got there, I handed them over to the doctor. One of the men had such bad injuries to his leg that I believe it had to be amputated. I never got his name."

'In shock'

At Malegaon's Medicare hospital, Dr Vardhaman Lodha was on afternoon duty when crowds started to stream in with the injured.

"Many people came to our hospital bringing the casualties. About 20 were admitted and some were brought in dead.

Bloodstains near blast site in Malegaon
The authorities have imposed a curfew across the town
"Three children, aged about six or seven, were already dead. They were immediately shifted elsewhere for post-mortem. We could not do much for them. We had to focus on the injured," he said.

Dr Lodha said that around 20 people were admitted to hospital with severe injuries.

"People had wounds to their thighs, face, to many different parts of their body. Two people are in a very serious condition, suffering serious blood loss. Many are simply in shock," he said.

"Our emergency team was ready. We immediately set about suturing and preparing the different procedures to deal with the injuries."

Malegaon is a town with a history of communal rioting. The consequences of such communal unrest is something Dr Lodha and his staff have experience of.

"We are used to dealing with terrible injuries. Two years ago there were riots in Malegaon and many were admitted in a bad condition.

"Things are calmer now, but people are very anxious. This explosion appears to be targeted at Muslims. There may be some problems between Hindus and Muslims. More casualties may yet come.

"We have to be alert."


SEE ALSO
Blasts 'kill 30' in Indian town
08 Sep 06 |  South Asia

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