Fear, darkness envelop lively Delhi market

September 14th, 2008 - 12:10 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) On any other weekend, the posh M-Block market in south Delhi’s Greater Kailash I is alive with people late into the night. This weekend however, things were drastically different. As shocked shoppers fled, a hush fell over the area.Six serial blasts ripped through three teeming marketplaces crowded with weekend shoppers in Delhi Saturday killing at least 18 people and injuring nearly 100.

Ashima Vohra, a resident of South Extension, said she was one of the eyewitnesses to the blasts in Greater Kailash (GK) 1. Visibly shaken, she said she missed death by a few minutes.

“The blast took place near the bend of the Prince Pan shop (a well known landmark in M-Block market in GK I). My husband and I were window shopping and had just turned the corner when there was a sudden loud noise. Immediately, people started running, there was utter mayhem. All that I remember was that I held my husband’s hand and started running towards the exit of the market,” Vohra told IANS.

The Vohras are just one of the many people who had later come back to the market to get their vehicles. Of the twin blasts in GK I, the first happened at 6.30 p.m. and the second seven minutes later. According to police officials, they has not left anyone dead or seriously injured.

“At that moment we were not thinking, simply looking for a way to run out. But later, we realised that our car was still parked in the market. However, because the area is now cordoned off, we can’t get it,” Vohra said.

Being a weekend and especially because it is a popular hangout joint for the youngsters, the market was brimming with young college goers when the blasts went off. The scene later was however of darkness hanging over the area, with the shutters of the shops down and a carpet of glass pieces spread across.

Sarika Sharma, a student of Lady Shri Ram college, who was in the market with her friends, said: “It was like any other weekend and I was here with my friends. As soon as we heard the loud noise, we simply ran out. Hardly had it sunk in, another loud noise ripped across.”

Sharma, like many others living in the neighbourhood, came back to the market later to see the scene.

“It’s unnerving. The charred bicycle, scooter and glass pieces around…thank god we escaped unhurt but my heart goes out to those who did not. I will never forget this evening ever in my life,” she said.

While the city was still reeling under the serial blasts, Vandana Babbar, joint secretary of the Greater Kailash market association, said they were yet to decide whether the market will open Sunday.

“As soon as the first blast happened, we started announcing that people should not panic and asked them to gather at an open park in the market. After seven minutes, the second blast happened, but thankfully no one was injured,” Babbar said.

“We had eight guards of our association here, the CCTV cameras were working which will hopefully help in the investigations. The market area is now sealed,” she added.

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