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Hyderabad shaken after blasts, red alert across Andhra

Hyderabad shaken after blasts, red alert across Andhra
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First Published: Sun, Aug 26 2007. 11 05 AM IST
Updated: Sun, Aug 26 2007. 11 05 AM IST
New Delhi: In a scene that was a gory reminder of the blasts that ripped Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar chaat shop on a busy Sunday two years ago, were the two locations in Hyderabad which predominantly see children and families relaxing on a weekend, being ripped apart by two bombs that went off within minutes of each other.
More than 40 people have been killed and nearly 100 injured at a popular street-side restaurant in Kothi and at an open-air auditorium in the Lumbini Park area.
The front of the restaurant, which sells spicy Indian snacks, was ripped apart by the impact. The park which was the venue for a hi-tech lazer show was also to be witnessed by eager children and parents. What however, made the list of casualties somewhat smaller, was the inclement weather, which perhaps kept a lot of people away from the open air venue.
According to forensic experts explosive material called Neo Gel 90 was used in explosives that were packed in black pastic bags.
“This is a terror plot, this is a terror attack,” said Hyderabad’s Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh in a telephone interview. “Five explosive devices had been used and a sixth one was recovered from a cinema theatre and defused later.”
What has shaken the confidence of the people of Hyderabard, is the fact that the explosions came three months after 11 people were killed in a bombing at Hyderabad’s famed 17th-century Mecca Mosque.
Meanwhile, officials are combing the city for clues. Rescue workers at the street food stall carried out bodies that were burnt beyond recognition. At the auditorium, severed arms and legs lay scattered on the ground.
“I saw limbs flying around me and blood splattering,” 29-year-old Romanna, who goes by one name, told AFP as she waited for help for a chest wound outside the amusement park.
There was chaos at the city’s main Osmania hospital as wailing relatives thronged the hallways, searching for their missing loved ones.
“We’re seeing a pattern of attacks every two to three months somewhere or other in the country on soft targets,” said Ajai Sahni, head of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajshekhar Reddy condemned the blasts -- for which no one has yet claimed responsibility -- as the “cruellest acts against humanity” and appealed for calm.
Intelligence sources believe the blasts to be the handiwork of terrorist groups with the needle of suspicion being pointed to the cadres of the Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami and sleeper cells of the Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil is expected to visit Hyderabad today.
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First Published: Sun, Aug 26 2007. 11 05 AM IST
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