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2014 Chennai Central Railway Station Bomb Blast


Two minor intensity bomb blasts at Central Railway Station Bomb Blast in Chennai has killed one person and injured 14 others. The blast took place in coaches S4 and S5 of the Bangalore - Guwahati Express when it was approaching Platform No. 9 of the railway station. The police arrested two suspects, one hiding on the train and the other from the airport.

The bomb blast occurred at 7:08 am in the morning inside the train as it was approaching the central railway station in Chennai. The first blast occurred in coach S4 and seconds later the second blast occurred on coach S5 of the train. The bombs were placed below seat number 70 of S4 compartment and seat number 30 of S5 compartment. A 22-year old woman travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada was killed in the blast. Eight others were injured in the blast. A team from the Tamil Nadu bomb squad was immediately rushed to the spot and the coaches of the train are combed. The entire area is being sanitised. Police officials also began their investigation. High security has been deployed at the station and the entire premises has been cordoned off.

Chairman of Railway Board has said that the blasts are not of high intensity. Central Station is the biggest railway terminus in the city.

Cause

Two improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were used in the blasts. The devices were packed in mental pipes and fitted with timer devices. Ammonium Nitrate may have been used to make the explosive. Steel balls and nails were used as shrapnel. The Forensic and Bomb Detection and Disposal squad who examined the scene of crime has ruled out usage of RDX and TNT.

Investigators believe that motive behind the blasts is to create panic among the people as the intensity of the blasts is minor.

Director General of Police of Tamil Nadu K Ramanujam says that it is unlikely that the target of the blast was Chennai. He said that some other location may have been the target and the train was running late.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said he has asked his officials to get more information about the blasts. Secretary to the Union Home Ministry Anil Goswami has refused to comment on whether the blast can be termed a terror attack yet.

Injured / Casualties

A 23-year old woman passenger Parchuri Swathi from Guntur was killed in the bomb blast. The deceased was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Bengaluru and was on her way to from Bangalore to Guntur. She was visiting her relative's house in Guntur. Swathi is to be married in two months. The bomb was kept under her seat. Two have been critically injured and 12 others suffered injuries. Fourteen people were rushed to the Rajiv Gandhi hospital in the city. According to Chennai District Collector V Sundaravalli, 13 people have lower limb problem and one has vascular injuries.

TCS, the company in which the deceased was working had issued a statement expressing sympathies. The HR team of TCS visited the deceased's family in Chennai hospital.

Ex-gratia

An ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh has been announced to kin of the deceased. Ex-gratia of Rs 25,000 to each for the injured persons has been announced. Tamil Nadu government has announced 1 lakh to the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 to critically injured and Rs 25,000 to the injured.

Suspects

Two suspects have been detained following the blasts. One of the suspect was hiding in the train and has been nabbed by the Chennai police and is in custody. The suspect has reportedly strapped explosives to his body. The other suspect was arrested from the airport.

Police are examining the footage from CCTV cameras at the Bangalore railway station. They believe that the suspect may have boarded the train in Bangalore. The cameras hold footage for up to three hours before the departure of the train. There are 40 cameras placed at various points in the railway station. The police have also obtained call details from nearby mobile-phone towers.

Timeline

  • 00:15 am - The Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express (no. 12509) leaves Bangalore, 45 mins behind schedule
  • 1:30 am - A technical snag forces the train to halt for 40-minutes between Krishnarajapuram and Bangarapet
  • 7:05 am - The train arrives at Chennai's Central Railway Station, 1.5 hours late. It fails to depart at 6:40 am
  • 7:08 am - First explosion in coach S4. In just a few seconds, the second explosion occurs in S5.
  • 12:15 pm - The train leaves for Guwahati after three damaged coaches are detached.

Investigation

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has transferred the case to Crime Branch CID for investigation as it is not keen on an investigation by National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Investigation updates

Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police B Prasada Rao said that the target of the twin blasts in the Kaziranga Express is inconclusive. May 6, 2014

Helpline Numbers

The helpline number set up at Chennai is 044-25357398.
Helpline number at Bangalore is 080-22876288, 080-22356409, 080--22156553

Reactions

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa condemned the blast. She ordered a CB-CID probe into the blasts.

Opposition party leader in Tamil Nadu M Karunanidhi said the blasts could have been prevented if the police had taken swift actions.

Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah expressed his condolences on the bomb blast. He asked the officials to provide better medical care to the injured.

Security heightened in Andhra Pradesh

In the wake of the bomb blasts at Chennai Central railway station, all major railway stations in Andhra Pradesh are on high alert. Superintendent of Police (Secunderabad Railway Police) said that they have intensified searches at Secunderabad, Nampally, Warangal and Kazipet railway stations among others. RPF, GRP, Bomb-Disposal and dog squads are also being used to carry out checks. Railway police personnel are asked to be extra alert on the account of election tour of Narendra Modi in Gutur, Nellore, Narsapur and Visakhapatnam.

Previous Bomb Blasts

The last major explosion in Tamil Nadu was in 1998. 12 bombs have exploded in different places in Coimbatore. Nearly 60 people were killed in the blasts and 200 others were injured.

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