The bomb blast at Hyderabad’s Mecca Mosque on Friday drew widespread condemnation and appeals for calm from political and religious leaders in Delhi amidst concern that miscreants could try to exploit the situation.
Within hours of the blast that the Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy called an act of "intentional sabotage", the Union home ministry sent an advisory to all states to remain alert and maintain communal harmony. Home ministry officials also spoke to their counterparts in sensitive places like Mumbai to sensitise them to their concerns.
The Union home ministry suspects the explosion was the handiwork of terrorists, Reddy said central and state intelligence agencies had indicated nearly two months back that "some elements were trying to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the state". Reddy was in Delhi holding meetings with central leaders in the Congress and the government when the explosion near Hyderabad’s tourist attraction, Charminar, took place.
"When AP is going on forward march of progress, such incidents will hinder progress," he told reporters in Delhi before returning. He added the police was trying to bring the situation back to normal.
On its part, the home ministry sent explosive experts to analyse the bombs and placed four companies of the anti-riot force, Rapid Action Force, (nearly 400 personnel) stationed in Hyderabad at the state’s disposal for deployment in communally sensitive areas.
Leaders like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi followed up this concern with their messages. Both promptly condemned the blasts. Singh urged people of all communities to maintain peace, Sonia Gandhi asked the chief minister to take immediate steps so that those responsible for the senseless act are brought to book.
Home minister Shivraj Patil cautioned people about the evil designs of the forces trying to foment communal trouble and emphasised the government's resolve to sternly deal with the perpetrators of such incidents.
The Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind general secretary Mahmood A Madain said the explosion had proved that anti-social elements had spread their tentacles throughout length and breadth of the country due to lenient action against them. Madain joined the chorus for communal harmony, appealing to all peace-loving citizens to maintain peace and tranquillity.