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Death toll in Hyderabad serial blasts rises to 44

ibnlive.com
Aug 26, 2007 at 07:20am IST

Hyderabad/ New Delhi: At least 44 people were killed and 60 injured when two bombs exploded almost simultaneously at an amusement park and a popular eatery in Hyderabad on Saturday evening.

The first blast occurred at around 1945 hrs IST at Lumbini Amusement Park on Necklace Road near the state Secretariat. The second explosion ripped through Gokul Chat Bhandar, a popular eating joint in Koti, some five minutes later.

The government-run amusement park was packed with at least 500 people for a laser show off the Hussain Sagar Lake. As many as nine people were killed here.

Another explosion ripped through Gokul Chat Bhandar, a popular eatery about five km away, five minutes later and killed 32 people.

State Home Minister K Jana Reddy said the blast at the amusement park ripped through the middle row of seats. Reddy alleged the state government had got intelligence inputs that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence planned terror attacks in the state.

Chief Minister YSR Reddy after visiting Lumbini Park said the blasts were an act of terror. “I request everyone to maintain calm. This is definitely an act of terror,” he said.

The blasts “appear to be the handy work of anti-national elements. Our police is fully alert and the culprits shall be brought to book at the earliest," he said.

A PTI report said after the blasts police recovered two live bombs in the city: one underneath a bridge in Dilsukhnagar and another at Venkataramana Theatre in Kachigudu.

Police officials refused to comment on the explosives used in the blasts but suspect that RDX was used.

The police have cordoned off the two blast sites and are searching railway stations and bus depots in the city. The injured have been taken to Mediciti Hospital and Osmania Hospital.

An IANS report said the Rapid Action Force has been deployed in Koti. Police used force to disperse a mob that gathered in the area and shouted slogans against the government. The angry mob also threw stones at buses.

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Police have intensified patrolling in the communally sensitive old city, where a bomb blast during Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid killed nine people on May 18.

A red alert has been sounded in Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad. Police have sealed all exit points and are checking vehicles.

Security has been tightened at the airport, railway stations, bus stations and shopping malls. Cinema halls have cancelled their late night shows.

An alert has also been sounded in other major cities and towns of Andhra Pradesh, as well as in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnatka.

Security agencies were placed on high alert in the national capital Delhi also. "In the wake of the Hyderabad blasts, we have placed unprecedented security across the city and security officials are prepared to tackle any untoward situation," Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told IANS.

Centre blames terrorists

The President Pratibha Devisingh Patil condemned the blasts and said they were "aimed at disturbing harmony and peace".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also condemned the bombings and appealed to people to remain calm.

Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said the blasts were the handiwork of a terrorist group. "One terrorist group or the other, which is bent on destroying the unity of the country, is certainly involved in the blasts in Hyderabad," he said.

The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Andhra Pradesh government on the situation in Hyderabad. "The Home ministry is in constant touch with the state government," said a ministry spokesperson.

Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta spoke to the State Chief Secretary and sought information on the blasts. “We are in touch with the state government and we are sending a senior officer to Hyderabad to interact with the state government tomorrow,” Gupta told CNN-IBN.

Hyderabad helpline numbers: 040 23202833, 09440815858, 09440815856

Chronology of major bombings in India

- August 25, 2007: Bombs rip through crowded public areas in the city of Hyderabad, killing at least 30 people.

- May 2007: A bomb at a historic Hyderabad mosque kills 11 people.

- February 2007: Bombs detonate on train headed through northern India for Pakistan, killing 68 people.

- September 2006: At least 30 people are killed and 100 injured in twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon in western India.

- July 2006: Seven bombs on Mumbai commuter trains kill more than 200 and injure more than 700 others.

- March 2006: Twin bombings at a train station and a temple in the holy city of Varanasi kill 20 people. Kashmiri militants are blamed.

- October 2005: Three bombs placed in busy New Delhi markets one day before Diwali kill 62 people and wound hundreds. India blames Kashmiri militants.

- August 2003: Two taxis packed with explosives blow up outside a Mumbai tourist attraction and a busy market, killing 52 and wounding more than 100.

- March 1993: Muslim underworld figures tied to Pakistani militants allegedly carry out a series of bombings on Mumbai's stock exchange along with trains, hotels and gas stations in the city, killing 257 people and wounding more than 1,100. (Info courtesy AP)

(With inputs from Shwetal Kamalapurkar and Sheikh Ahmed Ali)

<table width="252" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td><table width="248" border="0"> <tr> <td><div align="center"><img src="http://www.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/08_2007/hyderabad_blastsmap248.jpg" width="248" height="178" border="1"></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td class='Gtext10 lineheight12'> <div align="center">A map of the blasts site.</div></td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> </table> <table width="252" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td><table width="248" border="0"> <tr> <td><div align="center"><img src="http://www.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/08_2007/hydblasts_lumbini248.jpg" width="248" height="178" border="1"></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td class='Gtext10 lineheight12'> <div align="center">Police scan Lumbini Park auditorium.</div></td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> </table>

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