Terror returned to Hyderabad after five years — with two massive explosions triggered by tiffin-carrier bombs planted on cycles in the crowded Dilsukhnagar locality, leaving 13 people dead and more than 80 injured.
The police said the first bomb exploded at around 7.01pm in front of Anand Tiffin Centre near the Konark theatre. Another bomb went off after a few minutes at a foot-over bridge near the Venkatadri theatre, just 150 metres away.
Dilsukhnagar, in the eastern part of Hyderabad, is an education and commercial hub with hundreds of computer coaching institutions, theatres and fruit and wholesale grain markets nearby. There is also a temple is in the vicinity where devotees gather on Thursdays.
The bodies were shifted to Osmania Hospital for autopsy, while the injured were shifted to the nearby Omni hospital and Yashoda hospital. The death toll may go up as several of the injured are in a critical condition.
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said an alert had been sounded across the country two days ago though "no specific information" was available to the authorities.
Although the security establishment anticipated retaliatory attacks since the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9, Shinde refused to speculate on which terror outfit might have been behind the blasts.
City Police commissioner Anuram Sharma said the police moved in immediately and cordoned off the area. Teams from the National Security Guard and the National Investigation agency will arrive by late night. The NIA will take over the investigation.
The strike that comes within a fortnight of Guru's execution — and when the budget session of Parliament has just begun — has embarrassed the Centre. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to the people to remain calm and maintain peace.
This is the 11th terror strike in India since the November 26, 2008 attack in Mumbai. Altogether, 60 people were killed in these attacks across five cities. The last terror attack in Hyderabad in August 2007 had killed 44.
Chief minister N Kiran Reddy accompanied by top police officials and home minister Sabita Indra Reddy visited blast site.