Chennai twin blasts: As it happened

A young woman was killed and 14 injured when twin blasts in quick succession tore through two coaches of an express train that had chugged into the Chennai station.

Zee Media Bureau/Kamna Arora and Manisha Singh

  • The body of the woman techie killed in the twin bomb blast was taken to her native in Guntur tonight after post-mortem. The autopsy was done after her parents of Swathi arrived in Chennai from Guntur, according to sources in the state-run Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital, PTI reported.
  • Tamil Nadu government has refused to take any help offered by the Centre in the probe into the twin explosions and it appears that the state is not treating it as a terror attack "as of now".
  • The Centre had to abort its plans to send in forensic experts and investigators from NSG and NIA to Chennai as the state government, whose CM J Jayalalithaa is strongly opposed to any interference from Central agencies on the subject of law and order, refused to take any help from the Centre, saying its police was well equipped to handle the blast probe, PTI reported.
  • Security was today beefed up in Delhi. "Security has been beefed up at crowded and important places like railway stations, bus stations, markets," Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said. He, however, clarified that it is not a situation of red alert.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee termed the explosions at Chennai central station as a "senseless act of violence" and said no efforts should be spared to bring perpetrators of the attack to justice: PTI
  • Was some area in poll-bound Andhra Pradesh the real target of the two bombs that exploded in Chennai Central railway station early today? "Except Seemandhra, Lok Sabha elections in the entire South India is over. The bombs exploded in two compartments of a train that travels through the area where elections are yet to be held. We are not sure, but there is a possibility...," a Home Ministry official told PTI. The train is said to have been late by at least two hours when it arrived in Chennai this morning.

    If the blasts were triggered by a timer device, then actually the explosion could have taken place somewhere in the coastal region of southern Andhra Pradesh. The scheduled stops of the express train in Andhra Pradesh are Ongole, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Vishakapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Palasa -- all located in Seemandhra region where polling is slated next Wednesday.

  • Concerned over the twin bomb explosions in a train in Chennai, Finance Minister P Chidambaram made a strong pitch for NCTC, saying the mechanism would have helped plug loopholes in coordination. Chidambaram, who as Home Minister had pushed hard for National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which could not see the light of the day due to reservations by non-Congress ruled states, said, "I can not genuinely claim that NCTC would have avoided every blast, PTI reported.
  • CISF orders stepping up of security in airports across
    the country after Chennai blasts, PTI reports.

  • In the wake of Chennai blasts, the BJP says there is threat to leaders as well as to the environment for holding free and fair elections. It further asks the government not to show any laxity on the security front.

    Also Read: Chennai blasts: BJP says threat to leaders

  • In a cruel twist of fate, 22-year-old techie Swati fell victim to the twin bomb blasts on the Bangalore-Guwahati train just two months before she was to tie the nuptial knot.

    Also Read: Chennai bomb blasts victim was set to tie nuptial knot

  • A high security red alert has been announced in New Delhi in the wake of the blasts in Chennai.

    Also Read: Red alert in Delhi after Chennai blasts

  • A National Investigation Agency team reaches the site of the twin blasts in a train in Chennai.

    Also Read: NIA team reaches Chennai blasts site

  • Union Minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says it was not possible for railways to provide fool-proof security to its vast infrastructure and asks states to give "more attention" to it.

    Also Read: Railway cannot provide fool-proof security: MoS Railway

  • Security has been intensified at major railway stations across Andhra Pradesh in the wake of bomb explosions in a train at Chennai Railway station, says Government Railway Police.
  • Rajasthan chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Congress leader Digvijay Singh condemn the blasts.
  • Communist-Party-of India leader D Raja says the blasts could have been planned to scare civilians at the time of elections.
  • Calling the blasts an act of terror, Rashtriya Janata Dal President Lalu Prasad says safety for everybody should be ensured. Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain says his party will counter the terror activities in the country once it comes to power.

    Also Read: Leaders on poll campaign trail condemn Chennai blast

  • Police sources say Chennai blasts suspect detained this morning is innocent and hence will be released.
  • Woman killed in twin explosions was TCS employee.
  • Security across Kerala has been tightened in view of the twin blasts onboard the Bangalore-Guwahati Express.

    Also Read: Chennai station blasts: Security tightened in Kerala

  • DMK chief M Karunanidhi slams Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, says the blasts could have been prevented. He adds that the police did not question the ISI agent arrested in the capital city on Tuesday thoroughly, otherwise they would have prevented the incident.

    Also Read: Train blasts could`ve been prevented: Karunanidhi

  • According to a report, a pipe bomb has been found at the Chennai railway station.
  • Another person has been detained in connection with the blasts, says a report.
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemns Chennai blasts, says the act highlights desperation and cowardice of those responsible.

    Also Read: Chennai blasts: PM says it reflects desperation and cowardice

  • The train, aboard which twin explosions took place, departed from the Chennai central station at 12:15 pm after police, who undertook extensive searches, cleared it.

    Also Read: Chennai station blasts: Bangalore-Guwahati Express resumes onward journey

  • NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar terms the blasts as "terror attack". "It is clear that it is a terror attack. There are terrorists behind it."

    Also Read: Chennai train blasts is terror attack: NCP`s Tariq Anwar

  • Central intelligence sources have told Zee Media that Chennai train blasts is a "terrorist attack".
  • The Tamil Nadu Police says the blasts could have been triggered by a basic mobile device with a timer.
  • Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah expresses grief over the death of a woman passenger in the bomb blasts.

    Also Read: Tamil Nadu Governor condoles blast victim`s death

  • Congress leader Rashid Alvi says immediate action must be taken against those responsible for the blasts.
  • Security has been stepped up at airports, railway stations, bus-terminals and key installations in Tamil Nadu, including the Kalapakkam Atomic Power Plant, in the wake of the bomb blasts. Authorities have also enhanced security cover at the rooms where Electronic Voting Machines that stored votes polled in 39 Lok Sabha constituencies on April 24 have been placed.

    Also Read: Security scaled up for vital installations in Tamil Nadu

  • The injured have been identified as Murali (37), Krishnapant, Soren Pant, Santh, Bijan Kumar (24), Uma, Abdul Khan(24), Shihabul Haque (22), Vimal Kumar, Hari (21), Altaf Khan.
  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa condemns the blasts, orders CB-CID probe.

    Also Read: Jayalaltihaa condemns twin bomb blast on train

  • Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is currently in Himachal Pradesh, says: "I am away in Himachal. I have directed my officials to provide all assistance to the state government".
  • Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami says: "We are in touch
    with the Tamil Nadu government and have sought a report on the incident".

    Asked whether the blast can be termed as a terror attack, Goswami says it was too early to arrive at any conclusion. "We are still waiting for the details," he adds.

  • Chennai District Collector V Sundaravalli says one lady was brought dead to the hospital and all the 14 injured are stable. Out of the 14, 13 people have lower limb problem and one has vascular injuries.
  • In a statement, the Home Secretary says that his department is in touch with both the Tamil Nadu police as well as the Railways over the Chennai blasts. The statement adds that a decision on a future course of action will be taken soon.
  • Saying that Railway and state police are working together, Kharge adds he won`t visit the blasts site today as he is going to New Delhi to attend a Cabinet meeting.
  • Terming it as a very unfortunate incident, Kharge says the probe is going on. He adds: "Our people are taking quick action. I think within a short time we will be able to sort out the matter."

    Also Read: Expert from Delhi to probe Chennai train blast: Kharge

  • Talking to reporters, Railway Minister Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge says two blasts occurred in two coaches, S4 and S5, approximately 10 minutes after the train arrived at the station. He adds that the train, which was scheduled to arrive at 5:20 am, arrived at Chennai Central railway station at 7:05 am. One lady passenger, named Swati, was killed, two are critically injured, while seven passengers have received minor injuries, says Kharge.
  • The blast on the train was "not very loud", says an eyewitness who adds that he realised something was wrong on seeing people running away.

    Also Read: Chennai station blasts: Passengers rush out of train in panic

  • Initial investigations suggest they were improvised explosive device (IED) blasts.
  • The Home Ministry has put all airports on alert following the blast.
  • Security at the railway station, where thousands of people arrive and depart daily, has been stepped up and all inbound and out-bound trains were being subjected to extensive check. Baggage screening procedures have been further scaled up, Railway sources said.
  • Tamil Nadu DGP K Ramanujam, who is at the blasts site, says: "It is not a major 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." He adds that a Special Investigation Team would probe the twin bomb blasts.

    Also Read: Special team to probe Chennai station blasts: TN Police chief

  • Member of Parliament and senior DMK leader TKS Elangovan visits the spot, calls the incident as unfortunate. He adds that it is the duty of police to alleviate the fear among passengers and ensure that people travel safely.
  • Additional Director General, Public Relations, Railway Board, Anil Kumar Saxena, says the Home Ministry has expressed sorrow over the unfortunate incident. He adds that the sequence of blasts is not yet clear. "We need to wait for detailed and time-bound investigation to take place." Commissioner Railway Safety (southern circle) SK Mittal will conduct an inquriy into the incident.
  • Bangalore helpline numbers: 08022356409, 08022156553, Railway control number: 08022876288

    Also Read: Chennai railway station blasts: Helpline numbers

  • Confirming the blasts, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) does not rule out terror angle.
  • Since the train arrived in Chennai approximately 1 hour 25 minutes late, the question arises whether the capital city of Tamil Nadu was actually the target. Had the train been on time, the explosion could have taken place near Nellore (Andhra Pradesh), where BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally today.
  • According to reports, police have found the suspect hiding in a compartment of the train. Unconfirmed reports suggest that explosives were strapped to his body. He is currently being questioned in police custody.
  • Chennai police commissioner S George is also on the spot.
  • A team of National Security Guard (NSG) has been dispatched to Chennai blasts site.
  • The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the for kin of the deceased, Rs 25,000 for those who are critically injured, and Rs 5,000 for the others who received minor injuries.
  • For those seeking any enquiries, the Helpline Number is 044-25357398
  • The GM adds that train movement at the station has been put on halt. Hoping to resume operations, Misra says even this train should also be able to push off in the next hour.
  • Two minor intensity blasts took place at 7:15 am, Misra confirms.
  • Rakesh Misra, General Manager, Southern Railway, confirms one casualty, saying that the blast took place under a seat and victim, named Swati, was unfortunately sitting on the seat. Swati (22), who had boarded from Bangalore, was bound for Guntur via Vijaywada. He adds that the train had a brief 10-minute halt at the station ahead of its ownward journey.
  • Police have mounted a massive search operation in all the trains following the incident.
  • Soon after the explosions, security personnel cordoned off the platform number 9 but the movement of other trains from and to Chennai Central has not been affected.
  • Several persons were injured in the explosions in a train at Chennai Railway station, confirmed Chennai Police Commissioner JK Tripathy.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed the explosions at Chennai railway station.
  • At least 10 people were injured in the explosions. One person, reportedly a woman, has reportedly been killed in the explosion. The injured have been shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Government General hospital across the road.
  • Police teams are on the spot and the investigation into the twin blasts is on. Bomb disposal squad and dog squad have been pressed into action.
  • Train services have been halted.
  • The nature of the blast is yet to be ascertained.
  • The blasts reportedly took place under seat 70 of S4 bogie and S5 bogie (sleeper coaches) of Bangalore-Guwahati (Kaziranga) Express (Train No 12509), which had arrived on the platform 9 of the station at around 7:15 am. According to reports, the train was scheduled to arrive at Chennai station at 5:30 am. However, the train got late by one hour and twenty-five minutes, which means it arrived at the station at around 7:05 am.
  • Minor explosions reported at Chennai railway station. Four have been injured, say reports.