Twin blasts at Chennai railway station, suspect detained

Chennai: A young woman was killed and 14 injured Thursday when twin blasts in quick succession tore through two coaches of an express train that had chugged into the Chennai station, authorities said.

The explosions triggered panic at the busy railway station, with the bloodied and wounded crying out in pain.

The blasts came barely two days after a Sri Lankan, Mohammed Zakir Hussain, was arrested here on the charge of plotting to damage vital installations in the state and about a week after the state voted for all its 39 parliamentary constituencies April 24.

"The blasts occurred in two coaches - S4 and S5 - of the Bangalore-Guwahati train around 7.15 a.m," Inspector General of Police (Railways) Seema Agarwal told IANS.

She said the injured have been admitted to a government hospital and the two coaches have been separated from the train for investigations.

Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters that 22-year-old Swathi from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh lost her life and two of the 11 hurt have suffered serious injuries. The others injured are not in a serious condition. 

A suspect found hiding on the train reportedly with explosives has been detained by the police.

The injured have been shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Government General hospital. 108 ambulance staff say most of the injured have burn injuries, a few fractures and laceration.

CNN-IBN quoted its sources as saying that the NIA has confirmed twin blasts at the Chennai Central railway station and have said that a terror angle cannot be ruled out.

The police and the bomb disposal squads rushed to the spot immediately after the blasts. The Chennai helpline number released by the Railways is 044-25357398.

The blasts reportedly took place under seat 70 of S4 bogie and below seat number 30 of S5 compartment of Bangalore-Guwahati (Kaziranga) Express (Train No 12509), which had arrived at around 7:15 am. According to reports, the train was scheduled to arrive at Chennai station at 5:30 am. However, the train got late by one hour and twenty-five minutes, which means it arrived at the station at around 7:05 am.

The police are investigating the matter with the Railway authorities calling it 'low-intensity' explosions. "There were two separate blasts in the train. The entire police force is involved in the investigation," Mishra said.

Mishra said the situation has been brought under control and all trains would run on schedule. He said officials could ascertain the nature of the blast only after examining the CCTV footage.

A person at the station told IANS: "The blast sound was not very loud. On seeing people running away from the train we knew something was wrong."

He said there was not much of a damage to the rail coach and only a seat was damaged. Inside the compartment, the passenger baggages were strewn around.

Later, the police cordoned off the area, he said.

The police said closed circuit television pictures at Bangalore will also be checked.

A National Investigation Agency team is going to Chennai to join the investigations.

The state government has announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the family of the woman who died,  Rs. 55,000 for those who are critical and Rs. 5,000 for the others who were injured.

Meanwhile, Times Now reported that the DIG of Hyderabad has been sent to Chennai to assist Tamil Nadu police in the investigation.