Mumbai blasts: 65 diamonds found in street search
AFP, Monday 18 Jul 2011
65 stones were found after picking through the debris in the diamond trading hub in the city of Mumbai, one of three sites attacked on Wednesday in blasts that left 17 dead

Scores of diamonds have been found on the devastated streets of Mumbai's precious stone trading hub which was targeted in last week's triple bombing, an industry group said Monday.

Teams of workers found the stones after picking through the debris and panning muddy monsoon puddles in the diamond trading hub in the south of the city, one of three sites attacked on Wednesday in blasts that left 17 dead.

"We have found 65 pieces," said Jayesh Labdhi, a committee member of the Mumbai Diamond Merchants' Association trade group.

"We will have a meeting... and they may be auctioned, which would help those who have been injured or lost their lives," he added.

The diamonds, which are being kept with the association, have not yet been valued, Labdhi told AFP.

The association's president, Bharat Shah, however, said that many traders were likely to try to trace merchandise they may have lost in the blasts by cross-checking recovered stones with their description, colour, clarity and purity.

Sanjay Kothari, the vice-chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said a decision had not been taken about auctioning the recovered diamonds but a meeting would be held in the coming days.

Shah said losses to traders due to the rush-hour blasts had been minimised because torrential rain had prompted many people to leave for home early, leaving fewer diamond couriers on the crowded streets.

"Three or four people from our association died and about 40 others were injured. There wasn't any looting, apart from one fellow who took a diamond from the ground. The police caught him and he handed it back," Shah added.

Trading at Opera House and the bustling Zaveri Bazaar gold and jewellery quarter nearby resumed fully on Monday, meanwhile, after an enforced shut-down last week, as fearful customers and traders stayed away.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which also hit the commercial and residential district of Dadar and were the first in the city since the November 2008 Islamist militant attacks that killed 166.

Suspicion, however, has fallen on the domestic Islamist group the Indian Mujahideen. Police have said they are making headway and have "good leads" in the case.