A little over 12 hours after two bombs exploded in Hyderabad's crowded Dilsukhnagar yesterday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde visited the site this morning and also hospitals where the injured are admitted. 15 people have died and 119 are injured, five of them critically.
13 of the 15 people killed have been identified. Among the dead are two MBA students and a young man who had appeared for a police exam. Many of the injured are also students and other young people. (See pictures)
The Andhra Pradesh government has set up two special teams which will conduct an independent inquiry to assist the National Investigation Agency now handling the case. The police are attempting to make sketches of possible suspects, work hampered by the fact that both the CCTV cameras near the blast sites were not working. There are reports that the wires of these cameras had been found severed a few days ago but had not been fixed. (Read)
NDTV has accessed details of a terror alert sent by the Centre two days before blasts. That had warned of possible attacks in Hyderabad among other cities. The alert also mentioned Bangalore, Hubli and Coimbatore as possible targets. The alert also talked about possible revival of Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar modules.
The site of the blasts had been sanitised by this morning, and policemen in plainclothes are now looking for evidence and questioning eyewitnesses. But it took the police hours last evening to clear the hundreds of people - some curious, others angry - who crowded the congested lanes after the explosions, which happened in quick succession a little after 7 pm, about 100 metres apart. People milled around debris and even the bicycles on which the improvised explosive devices or IEDs had been placed, amid fears that important evidence could be lost.
The blasts took place near a small restaurant, close to two cinemas and a bus stand. Dilsukhnagar also houses a college and is near a fruit and vegetable market and the area was bustling with office-goers, students and heavy traffic when the explosions occurred. Andhra Pradesh's police chief V Dinesh Reddy said these were "acts of terror and were aimed at causing maximum damage."
Hyderabad police sources said this morning that the second bomb had been placed at exactly the same spot that an unexploded bomb was found during the Hyderabad twin blasts of 2007. The sources said the police had intelligence inputs last year of busy marketplaces like Dilsukhnagar, Begum Pet and Abid's being recced for possible terror attacks, but had found it difficult to sanitise the crowded areas. (Read: Large crowd could hamper probe)
Mr Shinde refused to answer questions on investigations saying they were at too preliminary a stage and also that he could not speak much in Hyderabad with Parliament in session. He did however reiterate that intelligence alerts about a possible terror attack had been received and were shared with state governments over the last 48 hours, emphasizing again that there was no information specific to Hyderabad. (Read: Intelligence had prior alerts, but no specific details: Shinde)
"We will leave no stone unturned," the Home Minister promised.