'Hyderabad blasts may not have been planned after Afzal's hanging'

CNN-IBN
Feb 22, 2013 at 09:12pm IST

Hyderabad: 5.55 pm: Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs have said that there is no question of ruling out the involvement of Indian Mujahideen in the Hyderabad blasts. According to them, the attack looks like an Indian Mujahideen modus operandi and the module must have planned the attack in advance. They also said that the attack could not have been planned after the execution of Afzal Guru.

5.00 pm: Explaining why he didn't reach Hyderabad soon after the blasts took place, Shinde said in the Rajya Sabha that it was for the security reasons that he decided not to leave immediately.

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"If VIPs go there (blast sites) then police have to concentrate on securing the VIPs which is not right. VIPs should not be visiting the spot of such incidents, police should be given freedom to carry out investigation and gather evidences," he said.

4.53 pm: There can be no lowering of guard as we are high on terror radar, Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha. He sought an assurance from Shinde that the war against terror would go uninterrupted.

ALSO SEE Indian Mujahideen suspect had in 2012 confessed doing recce of Dilsukh Nagar in Hyderabad

"There has to be a cooperation between the Centre and states on sharing intelligence. For the Centre to think that it alone can create and manage a mechanism is not appropriate," Jaitley added.

4.22 pm: BJP President Rajnath Singh on Friday alleged that Centre was soft on terror. He said the central government is to be blamed for not providing specific details to the Andhra Pradesh government.

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He also said that all terror attacks were ISI and Pakistan sponsored and that the government should stop its confidence building measures with the Islamabad.

3:49 pm: Initial forensic samples from blast sites indicate use of ammonium nitrate, urea and petrol. The investigators are probing three specific names as suspected by Hyderabad police.

ALSO SEE Had information that blasts may take place but didn't know which city would be targeted: Shinde

One suspect belongs to Uttar Pradesh, second from Bihar and third from Jharkhand. The police are helping NIA on suspected link to a January 18 raid on a Hyderabad lodge from where a guest staying under a false name escaped hours before the raid. The Hyderabad police are treating this as one of the key leads.

The investigators are also looking at similarities with the August 2012 blasts in Pune.

ALSO SEE Hyderabad blasts: Don't think the police has failed, says Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde

3:10 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy said as head of the state, he has to take the responsibility for the security lapse.

2:25 pm: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, in his statement on the Hyderabad blasts, in the Lok Sabha said 16 people had died in the blasts. "16 people have died, 117 injured and four were critical," Shinde said.

Shinde also said the NIA will assist the Andhra Pradesh police in the probe. "Two cases have been registered in connection with the blasts," he added.

The Home Minister concluded his statement by saying, "The situation is under control. The government is committed to combat such cowardly terror attacks."

2:06 pm: Police sources say they had received generic information 48 hours before the blasts, but denied getting any specific information.

The teams of NIA and other investigative agencies finished collecting forensic evidence from the blast sites. The area continued to remain cordoned off.

1:23 pm: National Investigation Agency Director General SC Sinha met Andhra Pradesh DGP V Dinesh Reddy over the Hyderabad twin blasts.

12:18 pm: The Hyderabad twin blasts were taken up by the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj called for political unity, saying, "The nation needs to be united, the political parties need to get united. The moment that happens, we will be capable in fighting terror."

She also questioned why no action was taken despite intelligence inputs. "The Home Minister himself is saying that he gave the information. But, if there was information, the blame doubles. If there was information, what was the Centre, state doing," Sushma Swaraj questioned.

11:50 am: Sources say Hyderabad had been alerted specifically by the Intelligence Bureau and the Home Ministry about a possible terror strike. A general alert to all state police chiefs was given last week about impending Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar activities. Sources add that the alert was repeated to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Hubli, Coimbatore on February 20 to be alert about a possible terror strike.

Forensic evidence of the Hyderabad twin blasts is now awaited. Preliminary investigation seems to suggest that ammonia and timer devices were used. Five companies of RAF and CRPF have been sent to Hyderabad to assist the Andhra Pradesh police.

11:25 am: The government is receiving criticism from the Opposition over the Hyderabad blasts. Left leader D Raja said, "Despite the intelligence input, how could there not be any preventive measures? What went wrong? What was the follow-up of the intelligence agencies? The government has to explain."

BJP leader Ram Jethmalani said, "The government is not at all concerned about law and order and security issues. It is just concerned about making money."

11:10 am: An FIR has now been filed in connection with the twin blasts in Hyderabad. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde will make a statement on the blasts in the Lok Sabha at 2 pm and in the Rajya Sabha at 2:30 pm.

11 am: Initial probe suggests the modus operandi is like that of the Indian Mujahideen. In fact, a Delhi Police special cell team is headed to Hyderabad with information from a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative, Maqbool, who was arrested last October.

10:52 am: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has condemned the twin blasts in Hyderabad.

10:22 am: Another person succumbed to his injuries at the Yashoda hospital in Hyderabad taking the death toll in the twin blasts to 15. 118 were injured and were being treated in five hospitals. Out of the 118 injured, five were critical.

10:00 am: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy will convene a law and order meet later on Friday morning.

9:45 am: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde will make a statement on the Hyderabad blasts in Parliament at 11 am on Friday.

8:55 am: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who visited the Hyderabad twin blasts sites on Friday morning, said the number of injured in the blasts was 119. He added six of those injured were critical.

Shinde said all medical expenses will be borne by the Andhra Pradesh government and added that the government will leave no stone unturned in providing security and support.

Shinde, however, said that he did not think the police had failed. "A general alert was given to whole of the country, not a specific area. I don't think the police has failed, at this moment," Shinde said.

8:12 am: While the death toll has climbed to 14, more than 75 people have been injured in the twin blasts in Hyderabad.

8:00 am: The death toll in Hyderabad blasts has reached 14 and authorities further it may rise further. 57 others have been injured in the blasts. Of the 14 dead, 12 bodies have been identified and handed over after post-mortem. Two bodies are yet to be identified.

The injured are now at the Osmania, Yashoda, Omni, and Kamineni hospitals. The police have set up helpline numbers and have urged citizens to remain vigilant.

Investigations are on in full flow with NIA and Organisation for Counter Terrorist Operations (Octopus) teams at the blast sites. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy convened a law and order meet at 12:30 am on Thursday night. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Union Home Secretary RK Singh are at the blasts site. Meanwhile, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has cancelled his padyatra.

7:30 am: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has left for Hyderabad and will visit the blast sites in Dilsukh Nagar. Twelve people have died and over 55 were injured in two blasts on Thursday and officials fear the death toll could rise. Both the blasts took place in crowded market areas and an NIA team is reaching the city to take over investigations.

The blasts were reportedly carried out using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and aimed at causing maximum damage, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) V Dinesh Reddy said. The two explosions took place near Venkatadri and Konark movie theatres in one of the most crowded areas of the Andhra Pradesh capital. According to the police one bomb may have been placed on a cycle and the other was put inside a tiffin box.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that the government received an attack alert two days ago, but there was no specific information. However, a police interrogation report, accessed by CNN-IBN said specific information was provided during the interrogation of a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative.

In the interrogation by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, which took place in October 2012, the Indian Mujahideen suspect had confessed doing reconnaissance of three areas, including Dilsukh Nagar, in Hyderabad. However, it is not known if the specific bit of information was passed on the Hyderabad police.

"IEDs were used in the two bomb blasts which were acts of terror and were aimed at causing maximum damage," said the Andhra Pradesh DGP. The seriously injured would be shifted to corporate super-speciality hospitals in the city for better treatment if needed, he said. Noting that the entire area has been sanitised after the blast, he appealed to the people not to panic and believe in rumours.

Meanwhile, personnel of National Investigation Agency (NIA), stationed in Hyderabad, visited the scene and picked up clues from burnt two-wheelers.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar, who visited the site shortly after the blasts, termed them as shocking. "What happened in Hyderabad is shocking...innocent people have been killed...the state government has reacted swiftly," he said. The Chief Minister announced a compensation of Rs 6 lakh each for the families of those killed in the blast, and assured that the government would bear the expense of the treatment of those who got injured. He termed the Hyderabad blasts as "an act of the coward", asserting that those responsible would soon be brought to book.

Referring to the serial blasts, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said IG NIA and probe team of NSG had been flown from Delhi by a special BSF plane. He said that high alert had been issued in Delhi, Mumbai and several other states, but maintained that there was no information on who carried out the explosions.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also condemned the blasts. The Prime Minister also sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those killed in the incident, and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured. The Prime Minister also directed the central agencies to extend all possible help to the Andhra Pradesh state authorities in relief operations. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also condemned the blasts and expressed her sorrow.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh termed the blasts as most unfortunate and expressed his grief for those who lost their lives and their loved ones in the terror attack. Expressing confidence into the government for providing all assistance to those hit by the terror attack, the BJP president said that a thorough inquiry should be conducted into the blasts. Former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu said that the blasts were unfortunate and condemnable.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Kiran Rao said the situation in the Andhra Pradesh capital was very chaotic. "This is not a time to have political divisions...this is an attack on our country and democracy, we all are together," said Kiran Rao.

The United States also strongly condemned the blasts and offered assistance in investigation if requested by the Indian government. "We condemn the cowardly attack in Hyderabad, India, in the strongest possible terms, and we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected and to the people of India," the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.

Dilsukh Nagar, the area were the incident took place is a crowded area in Hyderabad, and one of the main commercial areas of the city. Gaddianaram market in Dilsukh Nagar is the biggest in Andhra Pradesh. The blast took place near the main bus stand near Hyderabad-Mumbai highway.

Helpline: 040-23235643, 040-27854771

Previous instances of blasts in Hyderabad:

2002: 2 killed in blast at Sai Baba Temple, Dilsukh Nagar

May 18, 2007: 14 killed in blast at Mecca Masjid

August 25,2007: 42 killed in two blasts at Gokul Chat shop

August 26, 2007: Police find 19 unexploded blasts

(With Additional Inputs from PTI)

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