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Pakistan Train Bombed in India Leaving 66 Dead

Published: February 20, 2007 (Issue # 1247)



  • A dog from a bomb squad searches a railway station in Mumbai on Monday, the day of the bomb attack near Delhi.
    Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan / Reuters

DEWANA, India A pair of explosions on a train headed for Pakistan set off a fire that killed at least 66 people, some of whom became trapped when a train door was fused shut by the heat of the flames. Officials said the attack was aimed at disrupting improving relations between the rivals.

The explosions and fire struck just before midnight Sunday, a day before peace talks between India and Pakistan.

The fire swept through two cars just before the Samjhauta Express reached the station in the village of Dewana, about 50 miles north of New Delhi. As on most Indian trains, the windows of many cars are barred for security reasons.

Rajinder Prasad, a laborer who lives near the site of the attack, raced with his neighbors to the scene, scooping up water from a reservoir and throwing it on the flames, which rose high above the carriages.

We couldnt save anyone, he said. They were screaming inside, but no one could get out. Within minutes, he said, the screams were drowned out by the roaring flames.

Bharti Arora, superintendent of the Haryana state railway police, put the death toll at 66 but authorities warned it could rise.

From the less damaged coach, some people were seen jumping out with their bodies on fire, Arora said.

At least 30 passengers were hospitalized in the nearby town of Panipat, though they were later moved to larger medical facilities, officials said. A dozen critically injured people were brought to New Delhis Safdarjung Hospital, a hospital statement said.

Dozens of families converged on the Panipat hospital, which was turned into a makeshift morgue. Nasruddin, 58, who like many in the region goes by just one name, traveled up from New Delhi to look for his sister in-law, Skeena, who was on the train but he could only identify her by her possessions.

The police have shown us the charred passport and the money she was carrying and also some burned bits of her clothes, he said.

Outside, police set up a desk next to a stack of makeshift wooden coffins where worried relatives could sift through recovered documents. Piles of burned, sodden Pakistani passports and currency indicated the nationality of most of the victims.

Authorities said two suitcases packed with unexploded crude bombs and bottles of gasoline were found in cars not hit in the attack, leading them to suspect the fire was set off by identical explosive devices. V. N. Mathur, general manager of the Northern Railway, confirmed that there had been two explosions.

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Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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