*Finance Minister Chidambaram commented on the state of affairs that could have prevented 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. But NCTC would have reached the source of the extremists and bomb-makers," he said, insisting that the body could have helped nab many specialists in bomb making, extremists and sleeping cells of extremists and bomb-makers. The Finance Minister was of the view that uncoordinated actions of the state governments, which is creating gaps in fighting terrorism would have been bridged and "NCTC would have brought that coordination". At the outset of an AICC briefing, Chidambaram said the Congress party expresses deep regret and concern over the train blast.
Chennai Bomb Blast: Exploded bombs being transported to Andhra Pradesh?
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 Bangalore-Guwahati train, in which the two low- intensity bombs exploded, traverses coastal Andhra Pradesh where Lok Sabha elections will be held on May 7. 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 Centre today was forced to put on hold dispatch of teams of NIA, NSG and forensic experts to Chennai in the wake of twin blasts in a train after the Tamil Nadu government spurned its help. Tamil Nadu, whose Chief Minister 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.
DMK leader M Karunanidhi, while condemning the incident, said the blasts could have been prevented if the Tamil Nadu state government had taken appropriate action after the arrest of a Sri Lankan with links to Pakistan's ISI earlier.
NIA team reaches Chennai blast site
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team has reached the site of the twin blasts in a train at Chennai Central railway station and is investigating the case, a home ministry official said on Thursday. The official added that the home ministry has sought a report from the state government on the incident.
One passenger was killed and 14 were injured Thursday when twin blasts occured in two coaches of an express train that had entered the Chennai railway station.
Chennai train blast:
Security was intensified at major railway stations across Andhra Pradesh on Thursday following the twin bomb explosions at Chennai Central Railway station, Government Railway Police (GRP) said. "We routinely conduct checks and searches at railway stations, however, following the bomb explosions at Chennai railway station, we have intensified the checking at Secunderabad and Nampally railway stations besides at Warangal and Kazipet and other railway stations," Superintendent of Police (Secunderabad Railway Police) Chandrasekhar Reddy said.
An alert was also sounded in Kerala, though State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said there was no need for any anxiety or panic.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad called it an act of terror, and said safety for everybody should be ensured. "The blast in Chennai is a terror attack. It is a very sad incident and should be condemned by all. Safety for all should be ensured first in the country," Prasad said while on his way to address public meetings in Ujiarpur, Saran and Maharajganj constituencies.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted about it in reaction:
Strongly condemn bomb blast at Chennai Station. Have to fight the menace of Terror unitedly.
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) May 1, 2014
The CPI also condemned the Chennai train bomb blasts and asked the government and intelligence agencies to conduct a thorough probe.
A TCS employee was killed in the attack
*The 24-year-old woman who lost her life in the twin blasts in the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at the Chennai Central Railway Station was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and her family belongs to Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. TCS, in a statement after the blasts, said, "We are deeply shocked and saddened at this unfortunate loss of life of our colleague in this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time."
*Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned the twin blasts, saying it reflected the cowardice of those responsible. Offering condolence to the kin of the deceased and sympathy for those injured, he appealed for peace and expressed confidence that the people of the country will stand united against these attempts to disturb peace and harmony. Singh said, "Such barbaric acts targeting innocent men, women and children only highlight the desperation and cowardice of those responsible," according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). "The Prime Minister has offered his sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and heartfelt sympathies to those injured", it said. He said, "No efforts should be spared to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Centre, he said, will provide the state government all assistance towards this."
*The Guwahati-Bangalore Express, aboard which two explosions took place on Thursday morning, departed from Chennai central station. The running status of the train says that has been delayed by 50 minutes.
One dead, 11 injured in bomb explosion at Chennai railway station
*A woman passenger was killed and 11 others were injured, two of them grievously, when two bombs went off on Thursday morning in quick succession in two coaches of the Guwahati-Bangalore Express at the Chennai Central railway station, the main railway hub of the region.
*Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters that the minor intensity blasts took place at around 7:45 AM in S-4 and S-5 sleeper coaches after the train arrived at the platform number 9.
One woman was killed and two others were injured grievously.
*The woman passenger travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada died. She was identified as 22-year-old Swati, who was slated to go further to Guntur. Seven persons received minor injuries, Mishra said. The injured were taken to the government-run Rajiv Gandhi general hospital across the road.
*Bomb disposal squad and dog squad have been pressed into action. Mishra said the police was investigating the nature of the blast and those who could be behind it. The Railway Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs One Lakh to the family of dead woman, Rs 25,000 for grievously injured and Rs 5,000 for those with minor injureis. Mishra said the grievous injuries of the two persons were not life threatening. He said the whole train was being searched and it may be allowed to carry on with its onward journey.
*Soon after the explosion, security personnel cordoned off the platform number 9 but the movement of other trains from and to Chennai Central has not been affected. Police have mounted a massive search operation in all the trains following the incident. Mishra said the train had a brief 10 minute halt at the Central Railway station ahead of its ownward journey. Police said they were probing the cause of explosion and device used for it.