Politics took over proceedings Friday, a day after the twin bomb blasts at Dilsukhnagar with Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy playing pass the buck.
Shinde made a statement in the Lok Sabha, blaming the states for not acting promptly on intelligence inputs sedulously sent by the Union Home Ministry, and Kiran Reddy responded by saying his government did not receive a specific alert to the bomb blasts at two crowded points in Dilsukhnagar Thursday.
Sources in the Andhra Pradesh police claimed they did not receive any information from the Centre about Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Maqbool’s purported confession that he conducted a recce of Dilsukhnagar in months past.
In his statement to the Lok Sabha, Shinde said his ministry did warn the states concerned about possible terror attacks in five cities, including Hyderabad, in the day prior to the Dilsukhnagar blast. The alerts were sent on Feb.16, 19 and 20.
“Usually we give information to the DGP, but in this case we gave the inputs directly to the police forces of five cities.”
The home minister went on to express his displeasure that states do not act promptly to terror alerts; in fact they treat them rather casually.
Interestingly, Shinde’s pronouncements in Hyderabad bore a different nuance when he visited the sites of the terror strikes earlier in the morning.
There he said the Union Home Ministry alert had indeed been general for the entire country, with no specific intelligence relevant to Hyderabad.
“A general alert was issued for the entire country just two to three days ago. No specific alert was issued saying that the incident could happen at a particular place here (Hyderabad),” said Shinde.
In his interaction with reporters in Hyderabad before rushing back to Delhi for the Parliament session, Shinde even gave a clean chit to the state police, saying, “I don’t think that the state police have failed.”
He went on: “The state government has appointed an investigating team. As the investigation has just begun, it is too early to comment whether the blasts were the result of a failure of the police or of the intelligence system.”
Shinde was accompanied by chief minister Kiran Reddy on his visit to Dilsukhnagar. On the other hand, contradicting the home minister’s claim, the chief minister made it clear there was nothing specific about the alert received from the Centre.
Talking to a TV channel soon after Shinde’s departure from Hyderabad, Kiran Reddy said the alert was general to the whole country, and came in the context of the hanging of Afzal Guru.
“We have not received any specific alert. It was only a general alert and a routine one,” he said.