Terror returned to Hyderabad after two high intensity bomb blasts rocked the crowded Dilsukhnagar area in Hyderabad leaving at least 12 dead and 84 injured, six of them critically hurt.
The Andhra Pradesh police appear to have been caught off guard even though the Union Home Ministry had issued alerts to a few states including Andhra Pradesh about a possible terror strike. Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, however, refused to comment whether the blasts were the fallout of the hanging of Afzal Guru or the arrest of MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi.
Following the blasts, the Andhra Pradesh police remained in a state of high alert even as the teams of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guards (NSG) reached the spot and took up investigation.
Though no terror outfit has so far claimed responsibility, the investigators are looking at the local sleeper cells of Indian Mujahideen.
It was around 6.55 p.m when the first blast was triggered opposite the crowded Dilsukhnagar bus stop, close to the Venkatadri theatre. Within seconds, another blast was triggered, much more powerful than the first one, near Sri Sai tiffins near Konark theatre.
The intensity of the explosions was such that some of the victims were blown to bits while pieces of flesh were strewn all over the place. The victims and the injured were rushed to different hospitals. Window panes of almost all shops and other establishments in the vicinity were shattered while several vehicles were damaged. Several hoardings of shops too came crashing down under the impact of the blast. Panicked locals rushed to their houses even as a severe traffic jam hampered the movement of ambulances and the arrival of policemen at the scene.
Police sources said that Improvided Explosive Devices (IEDs), placed in tiffin boxes, were planted on two cycles -- one kept at the bus stop and the other at the Sri Sai tiffins. Ammonium Nitrate was the explosive used in the IEDs. Dilsukhnagar is a normally busy area and gets very crowded in the evenings. The perpetrators chose Thursday to trigger the blasts, considered auspicious for the devotees of Sai Baba. The scene of blasts is located about a 100 feet away from the famous Sai Baba temple, which was packed with the Thursday crowd of devotees.
The same Sai Baba temple was targeted in 2002 when an IED planted on a two-wheeler blasted killing two persons and injuring some others. In August 2007, when two blasts were triggered at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat, the investigators had defused another IED kept in Dilsukhnagar.
In Delhi, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said they had passed on inputs to the state police two days ago about a possible terror strike.
Asked whether the blast was a fallout of the hanging of Afzal Guru or the arrest of MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, Shinde refused comment saying the matter is being investigated. He said he had held a meeting with officers Thursday morning and all states were alerted.