Monday, February 19, 2007

Bombs On India-Pakistan 'Peace Train' Kill At Least 65

Here's some more really sick news from Asia. Hot on the heels of the story about the Pakistani courtroom bombing, we've got reports about bombs and fires on a train running from India to Pakistan. Yuccccckk!!

This report comes to us from Thailand's Bangkok Post: Terrorists kill 64 on India-Pak peace train
At least 64 people were killed after blasts triggered a fire on a "peace train" running between India and Pakistan in a northern Indian city on Monday, officials said.

Police said 18 other passengers were injured in two suspected improvised explosive device (IED) blasts after midnight on the coaches of the Samjhauta Express near the Panipat city, 100 kilometres north of Indian capital New Delhi.

"Sixty-four people including Pakistani nationals were killed. We found some explosives on the site. There were blasts and these were primarily to start a fire on the train to cause the deaths," India's junior Railway Minister R Velu told reporters.

Most of the passengers were killed due to burns and suffocation as the fire swept through two coaches while the train was heading to the border town of Attari from Delhi.
According to a report from (Canada's) CTV,
Because of security concerns, lower-class coaches on the train are kept sealed with locked doors and barred windows in the lower-class coaches on trips to the border. Passengers may have been trapped inside the burning cars.
How horrible! How many of us can even imagine that? How many of us even dare?

We return to the Bangkok Post for more details:
According to NDTV network there were identical fires in the two carriages and the coaches had been completely gutted in the suspected terrorist attack.

This is the first attack that targetted both Indian and Pakistani nationals.
As always, nothing is "known" about the perpetrators except their motives:
"The sabotage has been carried out by elements who are opposed to the peace process between India and Pakistan," said India's Railway Minister Lalu Yadav.
According to railway officials, it could have been a lot worse.
Senior railway officials said two suitcases containing IEDs were recovered from the blast site. Mobile phones or remote controlled devices could have been used to activate the IEDs, they said.

"Three IEDS have been defused in a controlled environment. The terrorists probably planned to carry out more blasts on the train," Y Mathur, a railway official said.
You probably won't hear about these sorts of details in the US media, nor may you care to, but:
The injured were rushed to a government-run hospital in Panipat. "I lost five of my children. There was smoke everywhere after the blast and everyone fell unconscious. Nobody survived," an unidentified witness told the NDTV.

The bodies were charred beyond recognition. "We cannot even say whether those killed were men or women as the bodies are in a bad shape. Only the post mortem will tell this," a senior police official told the IANS news agency.

Reports said several passengers including children and old people jumped out of the burning train as it was moving. Fire tenders were rushed to the spot but the fire was brought under control only after two hours.
As well as being an actual unprovoked attack against actual unarmed civilians, the attack carries symbolic meaning:
India and Pakistan started the Samjhauta Express, which links New Delhi with the Pakistani city of Lahore, and another train service the Thar Express to promote people-to-people contacts as part of peace talks they began in early 2004.
As you may recall, India and Pakistan have been squabbling for decades over Kashmir, they've fought three major wars, and terrorism has been a problem for both countries for a long time.

Allegations of cross-border terrorism (i.e. terrorists from Pakistan attacking India) have been bolstered of late, when Pakistani MP and Parilamentary Defense Minister Tanvir Hussain admitted in open debate that he was a member of a banned terrorist organization which is suspected of involvement in extremely violent attacks in India! (Regular readers of this page may recall this stunning news; those seeking more details should read "Tony Blair Makes a Donation -- to a Government including an International Terrorist".)

The Bangkok Post continues:
The incident came a day before Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri was scheduled to arrive in New Delhi for talks.

Kasuri is to chair the India-Pakistan joint commission along with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee which is expected to review the peace process as well as discuss a newly-launched anti-terrorism mechanism.
Two toughts spring to mind right away: [1] there's nothing like a spectacular act of terror to derail international peace talks, and [2] whenever a spectacular act of terror does derail international peace talks, false flag warnings start going off in stereo!

Sometimes the terrorists who sabotage the peace talks are mortal enemies of the terrorists whose atrocities are responsible for the negotiations in the first place.

I'm not claiming that's what happened in this case; I am explicitly stating that I do not know. But these are the ideas that came to mind.

Latest: Reports from India indicate that another victim has died, and rail security has been stiffened in the wake of the attacks. As reported by the Hindu News Update Service,
Security personnel onboard various trains and at railways stations across Punjab were put on high alert today following the explosion on Delhi-Attari special train in Panipat in Haryana, which killed 65 people, including Pakistani nationals.

Various security agencies, including Punjab Police and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) have been asked to remain on maximum alert, Punjab police sources said.

They have been asked to be on the look out for suspicious objects and persons as part of attempts to check further incidents.

The checking in trains coming from Jammu has been ordered to be stepped up, the officer said.

A senior Punjab Police officer said here that they were also probing the blast in the Attari special train from Delhi which is the link train for the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express.

Security in the Delhi-Lahore and Amritsar-Lahore buses was also being tightened.

At least 65 people were killed, some of them Pakistani nationals in explosions in the Attari special train. The train runs non-stop from Delhi to Attari where the passengers are shifted to the Samjhauta Express, which goes to Lahore after customs and immigration clearances.
As usual, I will keep an eye on developments for you and if I learn anything notable -- especially if I learn anything notable that's not likely to make it to the MSM -- I will keep you posted.