This was the second time deadly bomb blasts were triggered in the busy and congested Dilsukhnagar area. While Thursday’s blasts resulted in many deaths and injuries to several people with the final toll yet to be confirmed, the earlier blast in 2002 left two persons dead.
The choice of place, day as well as the manner of execution of the blasts - bombs were planted in a bike in 2002, while cycles were said to have been used Thursday - makes it appear that the perpetrators have deliberately chosen the area.
Dilsukhnagar is a congested area even at normal time, but is chock-a-bloc during the evening rush hour.
Bustling with activity 24*7, the area is a mini trade centre. From small-time watch traders to cell phone repair stores, fruit vendors, clothing stores, accessories all kinds of shops are there in the area. Besides, scores of hawkers move around selling their wares.
On any given day, the place from 6-7 pm has scores of school and college students waiting to board RTC buses at the bus stop right opposite the Venkatadri theatre.
The locality has over seven intermediate colleges, many small animation institutes and coaching centres. There is also a sizeable presence of devotees due to the location of two temples, a Hanuman temple, right below a foot overbridge and a Kanaka Durga yemple, a little ahead on the same road.
Also making it a landmark are four shopping malls - Chandana Brothers, R S Brothers, Saree Niketan and J C Brothers -- which are generally crowded with customers.
The Thursday’s blasts surely came as a shock to the people living in and around the Dilsukhnagar area. It is not just their business that has been hit, but their morale too. The explosions have devastated the people and instilled a sense of fear in them.
“We heard two blasts within a time frame of 5-10 seconds. I guess it was around 7 pm that this happened,” said John Kennedy B who owns Top Designers, a small boutique about 20 metres from one of the blast spots. “The sound was so loud that our building vibrated. Even before we could recover from one blast, we heard another one. There was so much chaos after that. People started running out of their shops to see what happened. Through word of mouth we all learnt that it was a bomb blast. Everybody shut down their shops and rushed to their way home. There was a lot of traffic jam, as there were many ambulances and police vans,” John said.
“I was eating at the Anand Tiffins at 5:30 pm. When I went back to the spot, the scene was very disturbing. The dividers were fully crowded and the ongoing Metro construction work added to the traffic chaos,” recounted John who resides in the same street.
Sobha Raj, a dazed novelty store owner, could not react for a couple of minutes after the blast. Narrating the scene after the blast, she said, “Immediately after the two blasts, the buildings almost rattled. For once, I thought it’s an earthquake. The sound was so loud, I went deaf for a while. I tried calling my husband and other relatives, but the network was jammed. I quickly shut down the shop and made my way home. Thank god, by then the traffic police were clearing the traffic. Everybody closed their shops and were running around for public transport.”