HYDERABAD, February 21 (agencies): Eleven people were killed and more than 50 injured on Thursday night when at least three powerful serial blasts rocked a busy commercial hub of Hyderabad close to a crowded bus stand at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad.
“I talked to the Chief Minister who said both blasts took place within a radius of 150 metres,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters. “Eight people died at one place, three at the other.
The blasts took place during the peak hour outside a roadside eatery near Konark cinema theatre in the locality resulting in a stampede-like situation with people trying to run for safety.
The injured have been rushed to various hospitals by ambulances and police and bomb disposal squads swung into action and began searches. Official sources said nine people were killed in the series of explosions which hit the area in quick intervals. At least 32 people were also injured, they said.
The first blast occurred at 7.01 PM and the second five minutes later followed by the third explosion after a gap of 15 minutes.
A team of National Security Guards(NSG) was being rushed to Hyderabad.
“We have been in touch with state government officials,” Home secretary RK Singh told reporters in New Delhi. “Ten people were killed and 50 injured.” TV garb showed debris and body parts strewn on the street in the Dilsukh Nagar area of Hyderabad, a crowded neighbourhood of cinema halls, shops, restaurants and a fruit and vegetable market.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that intelligence alerts over the last 48 hours had suggested a possible terror attack, but said the inputs lacked specificity.
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has strongly condemned the bomb blasts in Hyderabad. While expressing shock and grief over the loss of lives in the blasts, the Prime Minister has appealed to the public to remain calm and maintain peace. He has also directed the central agencies to extend all possible help to the Andhra Pradesh state authorities in relief operations. “This is a dastardly attack, the guilty will not go unpunished”, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister has sanctioned Rs. 2 lakh each to next of kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 each to those seriously injured.
`NIA, NSG teams flying to Hyderabad`
Elite teams of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) will be flying to Hyderabad, which has been rocked by twin blasts that killed 10 people and injured 50, an official said.
“We have a news of two blasts. We have spoken to state chief secretary, DGP (director general of police) and governor (ESL Narasimhan),” home secretary RK Singh told reporters in New Delhi.
“Ten people have died and 50 have been injured in the blasts,” he said.
He said the state police chief is reaching the blast site, which has been cordoned off.
“Our NIA team is also reaching as it has a hub there. The NIA officials are there at the site. Our IG NIA is also going from here. The post blast investigating team of NSG is also going,” he told reporters,
The two teams will fly at 9.30 pm in a Border Security Force plane, he added.
The near-simultaneous blasts occurred near two theatres in Dilsukhnagar, a busy commercial area in the southern part of city, about 15 km from downtown. Police have not yet confirmed either the cause of the explosions or the number of casualties.
The first blast occurred around 7 pm near a tiffin centre opposite Venkatadri Theatre and the second near Konark Theatre. Both the theatres are about 500 meters apart from each other.
High alert across Andhra Pradesh
Police have sounded a high alert in Hyderabad and other cities in Andhra Pradesh after two blasts killed over 10 people in Hyderabad and injured scores of others.
Police with dog squads began search operations in several busy market areas in Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad to foil any explosives.
Security was beefed up at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, State secretariat, Charminar and other vital installations, a police official said.
An alert was also sounded in coastal city of Visakhapatnam, the temple town of Tirupati and other major towns across the state.