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May 19, 2007 at 09:58am IST

TNT, RDX used in mosque blast

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government late on Friday said TNT and RDX were used in the bomb blast that ripped through the Mecca Masjid near the historic Charminar monument in Hyderabad.

"We have information that RDX was used in the explosion. We are confident of identifying the culprits very soon," Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said after visiting the injured at Osmania General Hospital.

The CM, who rushed here from New Delhi within hours of the blast, said the explosive material used in the attack was very sophisticated and a thorough probe was on to identify the people behind the blast. He said the police were also trying to find out from where the material was procured.

INNOCENT VICTIM: There are children and old among the 40 people injured in the blast. More Pics

Asked about possible terrorists involvement in the attack, Reddy did not rule out the possibility.

He said the explosion was the handiwork of anti-social elements who were bent upon disturbing peace and communal harmony. "The police have defused two more live bombs thereby averting a major tragedy," the Chief Minister said.

Home Minister K Jana Reddy said the police has been put on high alert across the state to prevent any untoward incident.

The Chief Minister also directed the Director General of Police and the City Police Commissioner to deploy as many forces as required in the areas to bring back normalcy and confidence among the people.

Reddy said he would ask the Prime Minister's Office to send Rapid Action Forces to be deployed if necessary in the troubled areas.

Eight people were killed, four of them on the spot, when a powerful bomb ripped through the historic Mecca Masjid as hundreds of faithful had gathered there to offer Friday prayers.

"I was offering prayer when I heard a huge explosion. Initially, I thought it could be a cracker, but soon I realised it was a bomb blast," Rasheed Ahmed, a tourist from Maharashtra, said.

Ahmed was among nearly 6,000-odd people who were offering afternoon prayers at the 400-year-old mosque when the tragedy struck. He is now undergoing treatment at Osmania General Hospital for his injuries.

The blood spilled over the 'wazu khana'(water tank), where Muslims perform ablution before offering prayers, as the crude bomb went off at 1320 hours (IST). Pieces of human flesh, slippers and caps were strewn around the blast site.

Rafiq Ahmed, another eyewitness, said soon after the blast, there was panic all around but the Imam of the mosque tried to calm them down.

"When I rushed out, I saw parts of human bodies strewn around and the injured were being shifted in ambulances," he said.

"I was praying inside the main mosque when the blast occurred. The people were engaged in Sunnat Namaz, which is prayed individually, before the main Namaz with the congregation. The blast was like a huge 'pop' sounding very much like a transformer blow out," Abdaal Akthar said.

Eyewitnesses alleged security near the mosque was lax and no frisking was done before allowing the people inside. The police recovered a mobile phone from the site which was believed to have been used to trigger the blast.

The incident triggered tension in the communally sensitive old city areas. The police, who arrived at the spot minutes after the explosion, had to face the wrath of people who went berserk attacking buses, petrol bunks and other public properties.

As the incident triggered frayed tempers and spontaneous demonstrations, tension prevailed in Old city areas including Charminar, Moghulpura, Lal Darwaza, Gowlipura and Mehdipatnam.

(With agency inputs)

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