N. Nagaraja Rao, Hyderabad
TWO powerful bombs tied to bicycles ripped through Hyderabad’s bustling densely populated Dilsukhnagar area killing at least 18 people and injuring over 119 on February 21, at 7pm , shattering the evening calm. The first bomb exploded near the Dilsukhnagar bus stop at 6.58 pm, close to Konark theatre and a minute later, another high intensity blast near a snack shop flung bodies into the air and created a crater.
The bombs triggered back-to-back explosions near popular movie theatres, (Konark and Venkatadri) blowing bodies into the air, flattening shops and houses and triggering panic among scores of injured people who were seen scurrying for cover in all directions with blood oozing out of their heads and legs.
Immediately after the blasts, a stampede prevailed at Dilsukhnagar as people tried to run out in all directions, with women carrying small children in the arms and looking for safety. Locals rushed to the aid of the injured crying in pain. Locals took the help of state transport buses to ferry the injured as the ambulances were struck up in the traffic jam, which is quite common during the evening hours.
Hyderabad is not new to terror attacks as three previous blasts killed scores of people. It may be recalled that this was the third time that Dilsukhnagar became a terror target. In 2002, a bomb had gone off in a scooter parked near Sai Baba temple in Dilsukhnagar killing two persons while another bomb was defused near a foot-overbridge in 2007.
Preliminary investigations now suggest that the bombs were planned to be planted at the same Sai Baba temple as devotees throng the temple on Thursday and incidentally the commissioner of Police Anurag Sharma was performing special pooja at 6pm a few yards away and the police presence was sizable owing to the VIP visit. The target was thus shifted to the adjacent tiffin centre and the bus stand. The state director general of police, Dinesh Reddy told media that IEDs with nitro compound were used in the blasts. The investigations have now been entrusted to National Investigative Agency and details are awaited.
State BJP leaders have claimed that there were intelligence reports to suggest that some terrorist organisations have indeed warned of retaliatory acts soon on hanging of
Afzal, on February 9 for masterminding the 2001 Parliament attack. Ajmal Kasab’s sudden execution angered Pakistan-based militants, who swore revenge attacks in several Indian cities. Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaishe-Mohammed (JeM), had pledged to take revenge. But so far police investigations point a finger at the Indian Mujahudeen who is found active in this region.
The Mayor of Hyderabad belonging to the MIM party was gheroed and had to beat a hasty retreat as the crowd did not allow him to visit victims at Hospital. It may be recalled that it was their party leader Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi, who gave a hate speech at Nirmal and Nizamabad and was arrested by police and now on bail. A bandh call have been given by the BJP to protest against the inaction of the police and failing to take preventive measures to curb terrorism.
Much to the delight of the terrorists, politics came to the open with the centre and state playing truant over the intelligence report that alleged to have warned the state government but as usual the irresponsible Home minister Shinde now states in Hyderabad that the intelligence report was not “specific”. One wonders if the centre issues its intelligence reports in such a cavalier manner akin to weather bulletin to lay the blame at the state police and play safe.