Bomb in Indian cinema kills six, injures many

By | October 15, 2007 4:33 am PDT

There are no ‘good’ places for bombs to go off, but to me there is something particularly despicable about bombings directed against places like temples, schools, nurseries – and cinemas. Six people were killed and 32 maimed and injured in a bombing of a cinema in the Shringar cinema hall in the industrial town of Ludhiana, in Punjab northern part of India. The mass killing was most likely timed to coincide with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitre and took place just two days after suspected Islamic terrorists set of another bomb in Ajmer.

Anyone who has been to an Indian shopping mall or cinema will know that security checks exist at all entrances, with metal detectors and bag searches. However, these often seem to have more to do with creating additional jobs and giving a show of security, rather than presenting any real obstacle to determined terrorists. So an atrocity like this does not come as a complete surprise, coming as it does after several bombing incidents in India in recent years.

The Times of India covered the news on the front page and tells us:

A red alert has been sounded in Punjab. DGP NPS Aulakh called an emergency meeting of SSPs of Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Moga, Jagraon, Khanna and Ropar to assess the post-blast situation. The police haven’t ruled out the role of Khalistani terrorists who last struck in Delhi during the screening of ‘Bole So Nihaal’. Delhi was immediately put on alert following the blast.

No bomb blast scene is ever pretty, but there is a reason why we use cinemas as the main example as to places where you shouldn’t shout ‘fire’ (or ‘bomb’) without good reason as the stampede can easily kills as many as the blast itself.
From the Times again:

An eyewitness said bodies were charred beyond recognition. One of the bodies appeared to be that of a teenager, aged between 14 and 16 years. The cinema hall was screening ‘Janam Janam Ka Saath’ [Together Through Several Lifetimes], a Bhojpuri film.

With the twin celebrations of Navratri and Eid this weekend, cinemas have been packed an the box office was bursting with takings from hits like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Bhool Bhulaiya. The bombing will have a short term negative impact on cinema going, but knowing the Indian love for cinema (second only to cricket) it will take a lot more to scare people away from the cinemas and multiplexes.

The news received extensive coverage in international media, including BBC, Associated Press, Reuters and New York Times. I hope that ShowEast will take a moment of silence to remember the victims of this barbaric act. (photo courtesy of AFP)

Patrick von Sychowski
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Patrick von Sychowski

Patrick was a Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, went on to launch the digital cinema operations of Unique and Deluxe Europe, then digitised Bollywood at Adlabs/RMW, and now writes, consults and appears on panels about cinema all over the world.
Patrick von Sychowski
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