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Muslim Militant Groups Deny Role in Bombay Train Bombings


An Indian police official says the coordinated train bombings in Bombay follow the style of a militant Kashmiri Muslim group. But that group and another have both denied any involvement.

After conducting raids and combing the wreckage of the mangled train carriages Wednesday, police said it was too early to say who might have been responsible for the eight powerful bomb blasts.

P.S. Pasricha, director-general of police in Maharashtra, said explosives and weapons seized in recent months had indicated that the thriving financial capital was a potential terrorist target.

"The country is on the path to progress…so naturally some anti-national elements would not be very comfortable with that…They would like to play that kind of mischief to see that our progress is hampered, and the fear psychosis is created to stop investments," Pasricha said.

Pasricha said the coordinated explosions were in the style of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Muslim militant group active in Indian Kashmir. The group has been blamed in the past for carrying out near-simultaneous explosions in cities including the capital, New Delhi.

But Lashkar-e-Taiba and another Kashmiri Islamist group, the Hizb-ul-Mujhaideen, strongly denied any role in Wednesday's blasts.

In New Delhi, government officials ordered a review of security at major airports, which authorities fear may also be potential targets. Security has been tightened throughout the country.

The scars of the bombings were evident everywhere in Bombay Wednesday. Overwhelmed hospitals struggled to cope with the hundreds of injured. Many of Bombay's 16 million inhabitants - who include the country's richest people and residents of Asia's largest slums - spent the day hunting for missing relatives.

Local television stations ran pictures of missing people and messages from loved ones.

But Bombay did not remain in the grip of fear for long. Less than 24 hours after the blasts stunned the city, schools and colleges opened. Services were restored on the suburban rail network, and many commuters rode on the trains despite apprehensions.

"Either today or tomorrow, day after, you have to step out…nothing really stops Bombay," said one commuter.

"Life has to go on...," said another.

Stock markets rose by nearly three percent, calming fears that investor confidence in India's rising economy had been undermined by the blasts.

Bombay is India's commercial nerve center, home to many corporate headquarters and a thriving movie industry. India wants to make the city an Asian financial hub.

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