Broken bangles, blood stains, glass pieces - remnants of Jaipur’s terror night (Lead)

May 15th, 2008 - 12:45 am ICT by admin  

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt and Sahil Makkar
Jaipur, May 14 (IANS) Broken bangles, footwear, blood stains, dried rose petals, mangled car engines and push carts, and shards of glass were what remained on streets of Jaipur’s walled city Wednesday, a day after eight bomb blasts ripped through the bustling areas, killing 63 people and injuring hundreds. Curious onlookers came out in droves to see the damage done by the terror attack that created mayhem. As soon as dawn broke in the ‘pink city’, people made a beeline to get their daily newspapers, which showed gory pictures of strewn bodies, crying people and blood soaked victims.

While many came early in the morning before curfew was clamped from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a more than 10-km stretch, mostly in the old quarters, thousands came out again in the evening to see the last vestiges of the destruction that shocked the entire nation.

The large crowds that gathered to see the devastated area created traffic snarls, even as many tried to buy groceries, medicines and food items before the curfew.

“During the curfew, the areas wore a complete deserted look. No on came out. Only the policemen and the press people,” said Avdesh Malik, a Jaipur resident.

The Hanuman temple in Chandpole, which saw the most powerful and the worst bomb blast, saw a rush of devotees early in the morning as people came to pray for peace, harmony and for the departed souls.

“I came to pray for all those who lost their lives in the bomb blast,” said Shivani Singh, a student, who came to the famous temple with her mother at 5 a.m.

As the chimes of the temple bells rang loudly, many gathered to see the crater that was formed after the bomb exploded here. The temple wall and the board next to it bore testimony to the fact that the bomb was very powerful. Even the tube lights around the temple were blown away by the impact.

A flower seller and a beggar were the first to fall prey to the blast here. The dried flower petals and the blood, which the fire brigade tried to wash off, were the mute witness of the tragedy.

Mukesh Sharma, a resident of the area, said the bomb was hidden in a cycle, which was kept in the parking area next to the temple. A family of four, which had come to pray were the next victims of the blast, he said. While the parents of the children were injured, the two children did not survive.

At another site, the place where a betel-seller used to sit, now has only a huge patch of blood stains.

Most of these sites had ball-bearings or pellets strewn across. Passers-by pointed out that the bombs were filled with these pellets, which caused serious injuries.

At the Kotwali area, known for its huge bangle market, only broken bangles and shattered boxes remained.

The corridors at the Sawai Mansingh Hospital, considered to be the largest hospital in the state, had patches of blood, while the wards where the patients were being treated looked like a war zone - bandages, glucose bottles, medicine wrappers and blood were everywhere.

The morgue, which was otherwise clean, had more than 20 unidentified bodies lying on the floor. But as the day progressed, some more claimants came forward.

But among those who perhaps received the maximum visitors was four-year-old Sumana Khan, whose situation moved former home minister L.K. Advani. The girl who has a hip dislocation has no idea that her mother and her two aunts have died in the blast.

Ajit Khanna, a businessman, said that as soon as the curfew lifted everyone was on the roads, including those selling knick-knacks, causing traffic snarls.

“The whole area looked like a carnival was on. Everyone wanted to see the blast site. The best thing was to just move with the crowd, one would reach the destination without making a move,” he added.

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