Seven bomb blast in eleven minutes, as dreadful as it sounds, Mumbai faced this tragedy on July 11, 2006. The blasts killed at least 180 people and injured around 800. Twelve years since then, the city has also sustained two other major terror attacks in the form of the 26/11 bomb blasts in 2008 and the three bomb explosions on July 13, 2011.
For Mumbaikars, railway is their lifeline. The suburban railway operates more than 2000 train services every day and over 7.5 million passengers commute daily. The blasts on July 11, 2006, were horrific and left the maximum city in a state of shock and despair.
Here are five key details about the 2006 blasts you must know:
Where Did the Bombings Happen?
6.23pm: Mahim station
6.23pm: Bandra station
6.23pm: Mira Road station
6.24pm: Matunga station
6.24pm: Jogeshwari station
6.25pm: Khar subway
6.28pm: Borivali station
Bombs exploded at different locations simultaneously. At 6.23 pm, two bombs exploded in two Borivali-bound local trains at Mahim and Bandra stations. At the same time, another bomb exploded in a Virar-bound local train at Mira Road station. By 6:28 pm, bombs exploded in four other trains at Matunga, Khar, Jogeshwari and Borivali stations.
Pressure Cooker Bombs
While announcing the arrests in the case, former police commissioner of Mumbai AN Roy had said that the bombs used in the blasts were packed in pressure cookers and planted on the trains. The bombs were placed in the first class coaches, the police had said. The explosions were so powerful that even the double-layered steel roof and sides of the trains were ripped off.
As per the chargesheet filed by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS), in November 2006, the blasts were a terror operation carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba with the help of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India.
13 people were arrested in the case of which 12 were convicted. A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court sentenced five of them who planted the bombs in various trains - Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan - to death. The other seven - Mohammed Sajid Ansari (prepared the electrical circuits for the bombs, Mohammed Ali (provided his Govandi residence to make the bombs), Dr Tanveer Ansari (one of the conspirators), and Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Shaikh (provided logistical support) - were sentenced to life.
Following the blasts, the Indian government tightened the security systems at railway stations. The Ministry of Railways passed new orders to keep a check on non-passengers on the railway platforms. Other major security steps included installation of CCTV cameras inside the stations for round-the-clock vigil and installation of metal detectors at railway stations.