66 people killed and scores injured in train bombing
Screams Heard From Bombed India Train
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG 02.19.07, 3:46 PM ET
Two of its cars ablaze from saboteurs' bombs, the Samjhauta Express barreled past fields of wheat and mustard, the screams of trapped passengers filling the night.
Within minutes, the train screeched to a halt and the roar of the fire drowned out the cries for help.
"They were screaming inside, but no one could get out," said Rajinder Prasad, 49, one of many villagers who tried to rescue those trapped behind barred windows and at least one door fused shut by the heat.
The villagers scooped water from a reservoir and threw it at flames that shot high above the carriages. They tried to open a door, but the intense heat forced them back. "We couldn't save anyone," Prasad said.
Soon, the screaming stopped.
The blaze that was ignited minutes before midnight Sunday by two bombs killed 66 people - most of them Pakistanis - in an attack on one of the most enduring symbols of the India-Pakistan peace process, the train that links the nuclear-armed rivals.
In India, many officials hinted at Islamic militants from Kashmir, the divided Himalayan region over which New Delhi and Islamabad have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947.
The militants are fighting predominantly Hindu India's rule over two-thirds of the largely Muslim region, and have been blamed for a string of bombings in India, including the July 2006 train bombings in Mumbai that killed more than 200 people. New Delhi says Pakistan provides material and training to the militants, but Islamabad says it only offers diplomatic and moral support.