At least 20 people were killed and more than 50 wounded when bombs ripped through a crowded suburb of Hyderabad Deccan on Thursday in what police called an act of terrorism.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowed punishment of those responsible for the “dastardly act” but appealed for “calm” in the aftermath of the blasts.
At least two devices went off in the evening explosions, and bomb-disposal experts were trying to defuse three more unexploded devices, police said.
“This is a terror attack for sure,” Hyderabad deputy inspector of police Shiv Kumar told AFP, while adding there had been no claim of responsibility.
Twenty people died in the attack and 54 people were wounded, 35 seriously, he said.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, the top civil servant in India’s external affairs ministry, said the culprits were not known but did not rule out foreign involvement.
“I am not sure there is any evidence it could be home-grown terrorism. We have had a number of attacks which have been traced to inspiration or leadership outside the country,” he said at a Washington think-tank.
“I think we have to wait until the investigation reports have been completed,” added Mathai.
Hyderabad police said there had been three explosions, but Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said he could only confirm two.
“The two bombs were placed on two different bicycles and the distance between them was about 100 to 150 metres,” Shinde told reporters in New Delhi.
He said Indian authorities had received “intelligence inputs in the (recent) days about the possibility of attacks and this information was shared with other states”.
Police said the blasts went off in quick succession.
Large crowds gathered near the site of the explosions in the Hyderabad suburb of Dilsukh Nagar as police struggled to collect evidence.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.
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