Hyderabad terror attack toll rises to 16
Hyderabad, Feb 22 : The death toll in the twin bomb blasts that rocked Hyderabad rose to 16 with two more of the injured succumbing to their injuries Friday while the Crime Investigation Department (CID) began the probe.
The deaths took place in two private hospitals, officials said. The toll could mount further as the condition of some of the injured is critical.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had earlier told reporters after a visit to the site of the terror attack that 14 people were killed and 119 injured in the Thursday evening explosions that took place at Dilsukhanagar, a crowded commercial hub.
Two first information reports (FIRs) were registered at Saroornagar police station under the limits of Cyberabad police commissionerate. The case was later handed over to the CID.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) with the help of Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL) gathered clues from the sites of both the explosions. NIA officials said they were trying to ascertain the nature of explosives used.
Hundreds of people, majority of them activists of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), gathered at the blast sites, raising slogans against terrorists and Pakistan. Holding flags of their respective organisations, they were reaching Dilsukhnagar in groups.
Police had a tough time in controlling the crowds. A tense situation prevailed on Dilsukhnagar road, a part of the Hyderabad-Vijayawada national highway. Though police did not impose any restrictions on traffic, there were only few vehicles plying.
Most shops and business establishments on the road was closed. Elsewhere in the city, the shutdown called by the BJP evoked partial response.
Majority of schools and colleges were closed. However, most of the shops and business establishments worked as usual. BJP activists in Abids and some other areas were seen going around asking shopkeepers to down shutters.
Fourteen bodies were brought to the government-run Osmania Hospital Thursday night. Twelve of them have been identified and the bodies handed over to their relatives.
Shinde also visited Care Hospital, one of the seven hospitals where the injured were admitted. Out of 20 in Care, three are in critical condition.
At Omni Hospital, two of the 18 injured are in serious condition, doctors said. Seven of the 14 admitted to Yashoda Hospital are also battling for their lives.
Shinde told reporters after visiting the scene of the blasts and calling on the injured at one of the hospitals that six of the injured were in a critical condition.
He said he could not share more information as parliament was in session.
"The state government has already appointed an investigation team and the matter is being investigated now," he said.
"There was no specific information that it (blasts) will happen in a particular area. A general alert has been sounded for the last two-three days and we have issued this alert to whole of the country," he said, responding to queries about his earlier statement that the central government had issued an alert.
Shinde did not agree that police had failed.
"It cannot be said at this moment. One has to go into the details. If there was threat perception earlier, it will come in the investigations. It will be too early to talk on such lines," he said.
"We will not leave any stone unturned. We will find everything. At this moment, nothing can be said. The matter is under investigation," he added, refusing to comment on whether he suspected the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen.
Shinde also clarified that no time limit could be set for the investigations.
The union home minister, who arrived here early Friday, drove to Dilsukhnagar and inspected the blast scene along with Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy and other officials.