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Hyderabad blasts: Toll rises to 16

Posted on Feb 22, 02:14PM | IBNS

Hyderabad, Feb 22 : The death toll in the two blasts that rocked crowded areas of Andhra Pradesh capital Hyderabad Thursday evening rose to 16, officials said on Friday.

At least 117 people were injured in the two blasts that ripped through the city as the finger of suspicion pointed towards the Indian Mujahideen (IM).

According to reports, two people succumbed to injuries in a hospital on Friday.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who reached Hyderabad in the morning, said though there were intelligence reports it was not specific and so the police is not to be blamed at the moment.

"A general alert was given for the last about two-three days to the whole country. It was not a specific area. I don't think the police has failed. It is too early to talk on it," Shinde said.

He is likely to make a statement in Parliament at 2:30 pm.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj on Friday criticised the Centre and asked why it failed to prevent the twin blasts in Hyderabad on Thursday despite having prior intelligence alerts about security threats this week.

"This is a time when we need to be united to fight against terrorism," Swaraj said in the Lower House of the Parliament.

"The Home Minister himself said that he gave the information. But in case there was information then the blame doubles. If there was information then what was the Centre and the state doing?" the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha said.

The blasts in which explosives were strapped in bicycles occurred near two cinema houses and at a foot bridge, just 100 metres apart. Incidentally, the second blast took place within five minutes of the first explosion.

Reports suggest there has been deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs which triggered the blasts.

No terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the blasts but there is a finger of suspicion towards the Indian Mujahideen (IM). Some reports said IM had recced the area in Hyderabad in the past through.

IM suspected operative Syed Maqbool, who was arrested in Oct last year and interrogated, had admitted to a conspiracy to carry out blasts at the particular site, media reports said.