New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Blood splattered on the street, tatters of what were till a few minutes ago litigants' papers, heart-wrenching wails, disfigured men raising hysterical screams -- what was a regular bustling weekday morning turned into a nightmare when a bomb went off outside Gate No.5 of the Delhi High Court Wednesday.
Horror-struck lawyers, journalists, litigants and locals ran in all directions, stumbling into victims, bags and what looked like their remains, lying on the road.
It was only after the heavy smoke triggered by the 'terrible explosion' withered away did they come to terms with the monstrosity of the act.
Hysteria, panic and dread followed. Some burst into tears, some were too stunned to cry. Some picked themselves together, some didn't have the limbs to move.
The fact that it was a terror attack sunk in, sending a chill down people's spine. Flashbacks of 26/11 and the Mumbai blasts in July played in the minds. People nervously repeated prayers in their minds. It was the second bombing at the Delhi High Court in four months.
Ten people were declared dead within half-an-hour of the blast and the toll was feared to go up. It was the 19th terror attack in the capital in the last 15 years.
The people were waiting to get inside the court rooms to get their cases resolved but the wait for some ended with their lives.
Wednesday is the day when mostly common people throng the Delhi High Court as it is the day when public interest litigations (PIL) are allowed. Perhaps the day was chosen to inflict maximum damage.
Around 300 people were waiting outside various gates of the court when the blast took place.
The counter of the Gate No.5, where the bomb exploded, collapsed immediately, raising fears that who ever was standing there may have been killed.
Bhagwan Das, an eyewitness, recounted his 'close encounter' with a moment of terror that left him numbed. 'I saw some people losing their hands and legs. Their bodies drenched in blood. God, it was terrible,' Das told IANS, himself in a state of shock.
If terror has a colour, it was there, splashed in red on clothes, road, and wherever the intensity of the blast took it.
Soon, ambulances, police jeeps and OB vans started flocking the venue. People, half-alive, severed, were stuffed into vans to be taken to Safdarjung Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Ram Manohar Lohia (RML). Those who suffered mild injuries were taken to the high court dispensary.
Police cordoned off the area and the journalists went onto cover the biggest news of the week -- which will soon turn into a brief 7/9.