States were alerted, says Shinde

Hours after two blasts rocked Hyderabad on Thursday evening, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the ministry had cautioned the states through a general alert two days back of impending bomb blasts.

Shinde, however, accepted that the intelligence input lacked specific details but had suggested of a possible terror strike and due to that an alert was issued to all the states.

 “I have informed the prime minister that two blasts took place in and around Dilsukhnagar. I spoke to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and he told that two cycles were used to plant the bombs. In one blast eight died and three in another, while 50 were injured,” Shinde told reporters. 

The prime minister said that those behind the dastardly attack will not go unpunished. The blast information was shared with the Cabinet during its meeting in the evening.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has strongly condemned the bomb blasts in Hyderabad. While expressing shock and grief over the loss of lives in the blasts, the prime minister has appealed to the public to remain calm and maintain peace,” an official statement said.

The prime mininster has sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of people killed in the blasts and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The distance between the two blasts sites was between 100 to 150 metres, Shinde informed.

The area had witnessed a similar blast about five years ago when one of two blasts had gone off near Gokul Chat Bhandar on August 25, 2007, Shinde pointed out.  
Union Home Secretary R K Singh said that a team of anti-terror investigating body National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the bomb disposal squad of the National Security Guards were flown to Hyderabad in a Border Security Force plane at 9:30 pm on Thursday night. 

He also added that the local team of NIA had reached the spot to carry out investigation.

It is too early whether the blast investigation would be handed over to the NIA though the Central team will work in close cooperation with state team.

Terror angle

The minister did not specify whether the blasts had the footprints of terrorist outfits.
Intelligence agencies are not ruling out the possibility that the blasts might have been carried out by Pakistan-based outfits to avenge the hanging of Kashmiri terrorist Afzal Guru on February 9 for his role in the Parliament attack case.

Four days after Guru’s hanging that had sparked off protests even in Kashmir, anti-India militant outfits had openly gathered in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad vowing to take revenge for the execution in Tihar jail.

Outfits

The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Al Badr Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and the umbrella body United Jihad Council had come together after ages at the national press club to protest Guru’s execution.

According to earlier media reports, top JeM leader Mufti Asghar had assured that his outfit would take revenge against the Indian government and security forces for Guru’s hanging.

Hyderabad police sources suspected that a local module was on the job which was activated after Guru’s execution because planning and carrying out a terror strike cannot happen so fast.

Hyderabad could have been chosen to divert the attention of the security managers to indigenous elements given the fact that the capital city had recently faced communal flare-up.

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