Terrorist Strike in India Kills 12
By Susanta Paral and Sujoy Dhar On February 21, 2013 @ 1:44 pm In Asia Pacific | No Comments
HYDERABAD, India—At least two explosions ripped through crowded areas of Hyderabad, the capital city of the southern Indian state Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday. Officials report that 12 people died and at least 57 were wounded.
No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attack. Explosives were strapped to bicycles near two cinema houses and a foot bridge, in an area usually teeming with people.
Indian authorities and citizens have been on guard against a retaliatory attack following the Feb. 9 hanging of Afzal Guru, convicted of attacking Parliament in 2001. Guru was part of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), though other terrorist groups supported the attack as well.
Tension in Andhra Pradesh has also recently arisen over the arrest of prominent Muslim leader Akbaruddin Owaisi following a hate speech. The administration says Thursday’s attack is not connected to this arrest.
The blasts occurred in the crowded, old neighborhood of Dilsukhnagar, often crowded with people shopping at its fruit markets. The attack was close to Cyberadabad, where many IT companies are located.
Timers were used to trigger the explosions, local media reported. Authorities have not released information yet about the nature of the explosives.
While two explosions occurred shortly after 7 p.m. local time, unconfirmed reports said a third blast also took place. Police, however, confirmed only two blasts.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said there were intelligence reports of a possible strike for the past two days; states were accordingly alerted.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the blasts a “dastardly attack,” according to local media reports. The prime minister has also directed the central agencies to extend all possible help to the Andhra Pradesh state authorities in relief operations.
“The guilty will not go unpunished,” Singh said, adding, “I appeal to the public to remain calm and maintain peace.”
India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, “We strongly condemn it and our sympathies are with the victims and families.”
Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister, Kiran Reddy, said aid valuing 600,000 rupees (US$11,000) will be available for the families of those who died.
The opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded a complete probe into the terror attack.
“It is a very sad and unfortunate incident and we condemn it,” said BJP President Rajnath Singh.
“All assistance should be given to the victims and I am hopeful the state government will do its best,” he said. “There should be full investigation. It is a sad incident and I express my deep condolences to the families.”
BJP leader Narendra Modi tweeted: “News of blasts in Hyderabad is saddening. My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. Praying for peace & calm there.”
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was heading to the site as of Thursday evening local time and will be conducting an investigation.
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