Counter-terror investigators probing Thursday evening's twin bombings at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad suspect a Sai Baba temple in the same area could have been the original target.
"The attacks' day and timing was chosen for a target (the temple) that escaped unscathed," said a senior investigator, who did not want to be named.
"It seems the reason behind choosing Thursday evening to trigger the blasts was to target the Sai Baba temple located close to the eventual two targets, an eatery and a bus shelter," said the investigator. "Hundreds of devotees throng the temple on Thursdays that is considered to the most auspicious day by Sai Baba devotees," he added.
The original plan to attack the temple could have been changed on the last minute due to heavy police presence for commissioner Anurag Sharma's visit to the shrine at 6pm, said the investigator.
The temple has been targeted earlier too. On November 21, 2002, there was an explosion in front of the temple that killed two devotees; the low-intensity bomb was planted on a parked scooter.
"On Thursday evening, there were many policemen on duty around the temple that could have thwarted an attack," R Sathish, a private guard outside the temple, told HT.
If the blasts had taken place near the temple, it would have resulted in far greater deaths. Investigators are looking into the possibility of the eatery and the bus-shelter being part of 'plan B' of the perpetrators.
The banned terror outfit, Indian Mujahideen, whose role is suspected in Thursday's twin blasts, has also, in the past, abused Hindu deities in its e-mails sent to media houses. It is also said to be behind the March 2006 blasts at Varanasi's Sankatmochan temple and Sitala Ghat near Kashi-Vishwanath temple in December 2010.