Serial blasts rock Hyderabad, high alert declared
At least 18 people are feared killed and over 60 injured, some of them critically, in three serial explosions near a busy bus stop and two cinema theatres at Dilsukh Nagar in Hyderabad on Thursday evening.
Union Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has confirmed that 11 people have been killed in the Hyderabad blasts.
Local reports said the five blasts all happened at Dilsukh Nagar area, which is a crowded locality in Hyderabad. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) though pegged the number to have rocked Andhra Pradesh's capital at three, while Hyderabad police said at least two blasts have taken place.
Police have confirmed that these blasts that ripped through the crowded area in Hyderabad are an act of terror attack.
However, there is no clarity yet on who engineered these well-coordinated and pre-planned explosions.
Authorities have also expressed the fear that the death toll is likely to increase.
The injured, meanwhile, have been rushed to Yashoda Hospital at Malakpet and to the government-run Osmania Hospital, and police have cordoned off the entire area.
Elite teams of the NIA and the National Security Guard (NSG) will be flying to Hyderabad, Home secretary R.K. Singh said in New Delhi.
He said the state police chief is reaching the blast site, which has been cordoned off.
"Our NIA team is also reaching as it has a hub there. The NIA officials are there at the site. Our IG NIA is also going from here. The post blast investigating team of NSG is also going," R.K. Singh added.
The two teams will fly at 9.30 p.m. in a Border Security Force plane, he added.
The blasts occurred near two theatres in Dilsukhnagar, a busy commercial area, about 15 km from the heart of the city
Eye witnesses said they heard two loud explosions within a couple of minutes. Police suspect one of the bombs may have been kept in a motorcycle and the other in a tiffin box.
The first blast occurred around 7 p.m. near a tiffin centre opposite Venkatadri theatre and the second near Konark theatre. Both the theatres are about 500 meters from each other.
All the major cities in the country have been put on high alert.
Senior police officials and ministers have rushed to the spot.
Some reports also say that an unexploded bomb too was found by the cops, although this has not been confirmed yet.
Police sources said that the bombs were placed at heavily crowded areas to cause maximum damage.
Earlier reports had said that these were gas cylinder blasts, but that has been ruled out.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy, Director General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy and others visited the scene. The blasts sent panic in the area, close to Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway.
YSR Congress party, in a statement, expressed shock and deep anguish over the bomb blasts. "YSRCP president Smt Vijayamma expressed shock and deep anguish over the bomb blasts in Diluskh Nagar. She mourned the death of innocent people who died in the explosion and conveyed her heartfelt condolences to the families of the blast victims," said the statement.
Authorities had feared terror attacks in the country in the aftermath of the Afzal Guru hanging.