A severed bloodied palm, strewn paper plates and half-eaten snacks, bloodied soil and mangled metal remains of motorbikes lying around what is left of Ramesh Tea Corner gave an inkling of the terror that struck Hyderabad on Thursday.
The tea corner — one of the two targeted sites in Dilsukhnagar — reduced to rubble, bore a haunted look on Friday, as National Investigation Agency officials in their blue jackets moved about.
Forensic officials, with hands in white plastic gloves, sifted through the site. National Security Guard commandos in black overalls and with shiny black automatics kept vigil at ground zero.
Hundreds of onlookers including local shopkeepers, who shut their establishments as a mark of protest against the attacks, stood around. The police kept them at bay with angry words and a light baton-charge.
A few feet away from the eatery, within a space barricaded by the police with a plastic tape, lay a heap of red rose petals deposited by one of the several high-profile politicians who made a beeline for the blast sites to pay their respects to the victims.
Among the visitors were the Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Andhra Pradesh CM Chandra Babu Naidu and Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh.
BJP state president G Kishan Reddy appealed to people to voluntarily observe a bandh.
The leaders arrived with dozens of slogan-shouting, animated followers who did not mind having a scrap with harassed policemen trying to enforce order and also protect evidence at the blast sites.
The dark glass windows of a traffic police beat post, a few feet from the eatery, showed numerous cracks. At the other blast site, a bus shelter around 100 metres away, the scene was sombre. A makeshift brick wall behind the shelter and a watch-repair shop nearby lay smashed.
A busy bus stand, cinema theatres, small private educational institutes that prepare students for competitive examinations and roadside eating joints dot the landscape around the blast sites.
Situated next to the blast sites are hostels for boys and girls. Students from interior Andhra Pradesh come to Hyderabad with aspirations of landing a government job and stay in these hostels, said locals. Many like 18-year-old Shiva Kumar have suffered serious injuries and some have been scarred for life.
For many locals, the scenes reminded them of the blast at Gokul Chat centre in 2007, about five km away from Dilsukhnagar. Venkateshwara Rao, a local, said, “Those who have carried out the blasts must have seen that people gather around the tea stall in great numbers.” Dilsukhnagar now resembles a fortress, the busy pace of its middle-class bearings torn apart by the near-simultaneous twin blasts.