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Paharganj, a scene of blood and gore
October 29, 2005 22:34 IST
The busy market area of Paharganj in Central Delhi, the site of the first blast in the capital on Saturday evening, presented a site of police bastion with politicians doing their rounds and the public speculating over the loss of life and property.
The shop - M S Medicos - near which the blast took place was badly damaged with glass strewn all over the street and blood splattered.
The adjoining snacks-cum-sweet shop experienced the highest number of deaths as a large number of people were consuming 'golgappas' when the blast occurred.
Nearly 150 policemen have cordoned off the area.
Eyewitnesses talked about the high intensity of the blast, saying that the sound was heard far and wide and shook the adjoining areas.
An eyewitness said a mother and child died immediately on the spot and a large number of injured were immediately rushed to the nearby Ram Manohar Lohia and other hospitals.
Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party President Harshvardhan was among the first politicians to visit the area.
Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit also visited the blast site.
Sniffer dogs, bomb squads and fire tenders have been pressed into service.
However, the entry point to the site of the blast, Nehru market, presented an entirely different look with business as usual.
Shopkeepers kept their shutters open in view of the coming Diwali and other festivals.
There was, however, only a small number of people, making purchases. Much of the crowd was moving towards the site of the blast to get a glimpse of what had happened.
The entry to the marketplace had, however, been blocked for the vehicular traffic.
There was general anger among people against the police, which, they alleged, had failed to act despite reports that the capital could be rocked by blasts.
Hours later, the sense of shock and grief was writ large on the faces of many.
Similar horrid, harrowing and heart-wrenching scenes were witnessed at the Lady Hardinge Hospital in the New Delhi area.
Utter chaos prevailed at the hospital complex where relatives of the victims had gathered in large numbers to enquire about their well-being.
Hospital authorities confirmed that eight people had died in the hospital alone and more than 65 injured, half of them women, were admitted to the hospital.
Five children and a foreign couple were also among the injured. While some were discharged after being administered first-aid, most of them were being referred to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. A police team in a riot-gear was also called in to control the crowd that had gathered there.
Ajay Gupta, whose father and younger brother were admitted to Lady Harding hospital, said, "The hospital authorities are not forthcoming in giving information about my father and brother. I was at the six, Tuti Chowk in Paharganj when the blast occurred in front of a readymade garment shop. As soon as the blast occurred at around 5:35 PM, there was total darkness and as I gathered my wits after it I saw some bodies lying on the road. Some dismembered parts of bodies could also be seen."
Vinod Khosla, who had also come to enquire about his relatives who were injured in the blast, said the blast happened due to the laxity of police as they had allowed several squatters to encroach on the land in the market and the place became prone to terrorist activities.
Union Science and Technology minister Kapil Sibal was the first one to reach the hospital but refused to speak to the media.