Terror struck Hyderabad again as two powerful bombs exploded in quick succession in a busy locality on Thursday, killing at least 13 people and leaving 87 injured.
The explosions occurred near the Venkatadri theatre and a footbridge in the crowded Dilsukhnagar area. The first explosion occurred at 7:10 pm, spreading panic in the area. Dilsuknagar is a commercial and residential area in south Hyderabad.
Human flesh and body parts were strewn all over the road due to the impact of the blast. Police sources put the toll at 18. The count may rise as at least 18 of the injured are critical. The profusely bleeding victims were admitted to nearby private hospitals.
Panic gripped the locality soon after the blasts as the people ran for cover. The blast site is one of the busiest localities in the city, with a bus depot, a fruit market, theatres and a string of shopping malls located nearby.
Bomb disposal squads rushed to the area soon. One of the bombs was planted in a scooter. The city police have been put on high alert and mobile phone networks have been jammed in and around Dilsukhnagar, to prevent spread of misleading information.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and the state Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy rushed to the spot to supervise rescue operations.
Confirming two blasts, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anurag Sharma said teams from the local NIA hub and NSG from New Delhi will arrive to investigate into the blasts. He, however, refused to speculate on the role of the Indian Mujahidin that orchestrated the 2007 blasts.
It was the second time that Dilsukhnagar fell prey to bomb blasts. On a busy Thursday in November, 2002, a bomb exploded at the crowded Sai Baba temple there, leaving seven injured. A woman was seriously wounded while others sustained minor injuries as the explosion rocked the temple around 8:30 pm, police said.
Devotees throng the Saibaba temple every Thursday. One of the accused in the temple blast case committed suicide last year. Abdul Razak alias Masood, aged around 40, was found hanging from the ceiling fan at his one-room house at Humayun Nagar.
A senior police officer said Razak was a native of Nizamabad district. He was out on bail.
Meanwhile, the police have sounded high alert in Hyderabad and other cities of Andhra Pradesh, including Tirumala and the coastal city of Visakhapatnam, besides the railway stations at Secunderabad, Khazipet and Vijayawada.
The police, along with dog squads, launched search operations in several busy marketplaces like the Kothi and Begum Bazar areas here and Secunderabad. Security was also tightened at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, state secretariat, Charminar and other key locations, a police official said.
Dastardly act flayed
Political parties on Thursday night condemned the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserting that those responsible for the “dastardly” act would not go unpunished.
“This is a dastardly attack, the guilty will not go unpunished,” he said.
Condemning the attacks, Vice President Hamid Ansari conveyed his condolences to the families of the innocent victims who lost their lives.
Both Singh and Ansari appealed to the public to remain calm and maintain peace in this difficult hour.
Singh announced Rs 2 lakh each to next of kin of those killed in the blasts and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
He directed the central agencies to extend all possible help to the Andhra Pradesh state authorities in relief operations.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed her sorrow and anguish on the blasts in Hyderabad.
BJP president Rajnath Singh condoled the loss of lives and demanded a thorough probe into the blasts.
The state unit of the BJP gave a call for a statewide bandh on Friday in protest against the blasts.