More bombs defused in India after twin blasts

At least a dozen more bombs were found and defused in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad after twin blasts left 42 people dead and more than 50 injured, police officials said Sunday.

More bombs defused in India after twin blasts
At least a dozen more bombs were found and defused in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad after twin blasts left 42 people dead and more than 50 injured, police officials said Sunday.

The blasts took place at an open-air auditorium where a laser show was going on and at a popular eatery in the Andhra Pradesh state capital on Saturday night.

The dead included eight women, seven students and two children, the police said. So far 34 of the 42 victims have been identified. They included eight women, seven students and two children, the police said.

The injured were being treated at several hospitals in Hyderabad. The condition of at least six was said to be serious.

The chief minister also announced compensation of 500,000 rupees (about 12,000 dollars) for the next of kin of the victims and 25,000 rupees (about 607 dollars) and free hospital treatment for each of the injured. He also promised a government job to each family that had lost its breadwinner.

Reddy, speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, said no arrests had been made so far in connection with the blasts. At least two dozen people had been detained for questioning, NDTV news channel reported.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh said the dead included seven engineering students from neighbouring Maharashtra state who had come to Hyderabad on a study tour with a group of about 30 and were watching the laser show at the Lumbini Park when the blast took place.

The police had found and defused at least a dozen bombs over Saturday and Sunday fitted with timers and packed in plastic bags at bus stops, cinema theatres, pedestrian bridges and near public water taps, Singh said.

The federal government had dispatched extra security forces and special bomb detection squads and equipment to Hyderabad.

The explosive substances in the recovered bombs had been identified as Neogel-90, an ammonium nitrate-based emulsifier explosive, PTI news agency reported quoting a forensic expert.

One of the bombs was fitted with the explosive, metal balls and attached to a clock timer, he said.

The banned Harkat-ul Jehad-i-Islami (HUJI), an Islamic militant group, was suspected of masterminding the blasts, PTI news agency reported quoting police sources.

There were heart-rending scenes at the main mortuary in Hyderabad and the two hospitals where most of the injured were being treated, news reports said.

Some frantic relatives could be seen at the hospitals searching for missing relatives.

The dead included several young people like 17-year-old Pratyusha who was shopping at the Kothi market when the blast took place at the adjoining Gokul Chat Bhandar eatery.

A family of four - businessman Mohammed Saleem, his wife and two boys aged 9 and 6 - were among those killed at the eatery.

Thirty-two people were killed in the eatery and another 10 at Lumbini Park auditorium, the police said.

Hyderabad, with a large Muslim minority population, has a history of sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, and the authorities have stepped up security.

The situation in the city remained tense but peaceful, IANS news agency reported. Special security measures have been made for over 30,000 weddings scheduled to take place on Sunday, an auspicious day on the local calendar.

Security had been tightened at malls, railway and bus stations and all public places, the police said.

Hyderabad is also a major centre for information technology firms in India and several foreign firms have their offices in the city.

The twin blasts are the second major terrorist attack in Hyderabad in 2007. Eleven people were killed in explosions at the Mecca mosque in the city in May while five more died as angry mobs clashed with the police after the blasts.

The HUJI, led by Mohammed Abdul Shahid alias Bilal, was also believed to be responsible for the blasts at the Mecca mosque.

A red alert had been sounded across Andhra Pradesh and security tightened at all key installations and religious places in neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka states.

A series of bomb explosions triggered by terrorists in Maharashtra capital Mumbai in July 2006 left 184 dead and more than 700 injured. In September the same year, 32 people died in explosions near a mosque in Malegaon town in Maharashtra.

In February 2007, blasts on a train from India to neighbouring Pakistan left 65 dead.

DPA
Last Mod: 26 Ağustos 2007, 17:15
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