Woman killed, 14 injured in Chennai train blasts

CHENNAI: A 24-year old woman techie was killed and 14 others injured when a twin bomb blast rocked the Bangalore-Guwhati Express at the busy Central Railway station in the city on Thursday.
The two low-intensity bombs that went off in quick succession in S4 and S5 coaches about ten minutes after the train chugged into the platform in the morning, triggered of chaotic scenes with panic stricken passengers running for safety.
The woman killed in the mishap has been identified as Swathi, employed with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Bangalore, and was travelling to her home town Guntur in Andhra Pradesh along with a friend, police said.
Fourteen injured persons, including two critically wounded, were undergoing treatment at the state-run Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital where doctors described their condition as “out of danger”.
Police cordoned off the platform where the explosion occurred, rushed forensic experts, bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs to look for clues and the Tamil Nadu government transferred the investigation to its specialised wing CB-CID.
The ill-fated train continued its onward journey after railway authorities replaced three damaged coaches while other trains were being operated as scheduled after a brief disruption, railway officials said.
The police are probing all angles including whether the bomb was planted after the train entered the city railway station or elsewhere, a police official refusing to be identified said.
The CB-CID sleuths who have already plunged into the probe have detained three coaches of the train, collected pellets found on the scene and other materials, sources said.
The Tamil Nadu police have alerted railway authorities at various stations from Bangalore to Chennai to look for CCTV footages for suspects and also the point at which the explosive material gained entry into the train, sources said.
Two persons who were travelling by the train have been detained for questioning, police said but refused to reveal further details.
State DGP K Ramanujam who visited the mishap site said, “It is a minor blast. It is suspected that Chennai could not have been target of those who were behind the blast because the train was running late. Some other location could have been the target”.
“It is premature to say what kind of device was used in the blast. Damage to the train is not heavy,” he added.
DGP (Elections) Anoop Jaiswal said, “We are picking up clues and any speculation on this is too premature. Nobody has been arrested so far”, he said.
A source in CB-CID said the materials collected from the explosion site has been sent to forensic laboratory for analysis and declined to share details of the probe involving multiple agencies including the Railway police.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blasts, which occurred two days after the arrest of a terror suspect hailing from Sri Lanka and believed to have links with Indian terror modules.
The floor surface of the two coaches was ripped apart under the impact of the explosion, but the side walls and the ceiling did not suffer any damage.
Police ruled out the use of gelatin sticks, which were involved in some blasts in the past in the state, and suspect “the triggering device could have been anything including a mobile phone”.
The Union home ministry was preparing to send teams of the National Investigation Agency, National Security Guard and forensic experts to Chennai, but put on hold the plan after Tamil Nadu government refused to take any help, saying its police was well equipped to handle the blast probe.
The authorities have enlarged security cover and beefed up vigil at airports, railway and bus terminus across the state, besides at key installations following the blasts.—PTI

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