Mumbai: A day after serial blasts rocked Mumbai, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram confirmed the death of 18 persons in the blasts while putting the number of the injured at 131, out of whom 29 have been discharged, while 23 are seriously injured and battling for life.
“After a gap of about 31 months, Mumbai has suffered another terror attack; I express my deep regret and offer my profound sympathies. Three blasts took place, one in Dadar, second in Opera House and the third at Zaveri Bazaar. I visited all three blasts sites, our preliminary assessment is that Dadar was low intensity, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar were medium to high intensity,” he said.
“17 are confirmed dead, 131 admitted to 13 hospitals of these 26 were discharged, 82 are stable and remaining 23 are seriously injured. Of the 23 some are critical. We all join their families in prayer that they survive. We also found one severed head that has to be identified, that will take the death toll to 18,” he added.
Addressing a joint press conference with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Chidambaram said that initial investigations point to the use of ammonium nitrate with a timer device, but importantly, they were not triggered using a remote.
While accepting that the there was no intelligence input on the blasts, Chidambaram said that government accepted the responsibility of the failure. He stressed that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the investigators have been told not to speculate about it.
“We are not ruling out any angle, we are looking at every possible hostile group. All groups hostile to India are on the radar,” he said, adding, “When there is no intelligence input on particular incidence we cannot call it an intelligence failure.”
He said that a post event investigation team from National Security Guard and National Investigating Agency and one forensics team each from Delhi and Pune are assisting the Mumbai police in the investigations. “Blasts sites have been cordoned off; people will not be allowed there,” he said.
He expressed confidence that the investigators will be able to zero-in on the
terror group behind the “coordinated” blasts.
The Home Minister refused to be drawn into suggestions on the Pakistan angle to the blasts, but he did indicate that the “possibility of derailing the Indo-Pak talks by carrying out the blasts have not been ruled out.”
“We live in the most troubled neighbourhood. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the epicentres of terrorism,” he added.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who had visited the blast sites yesterday with the Home Minister and also met the victims at the hospital said that the state government would provide a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of those dead while Rs 50000 would be given to the injured.
The state government has already announced that all the medical expenses of the injured would be taken care of.