25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings
|2007 Hyderabad Bombings|
|Date||25 August 2007
19:45 and 19:50 (IST (UTC+5.30))
|Target||Lumbini Amusement Park, and Gokul Chat Bhandar|
|Weapon(s)||Improvised explosive devices made with Ammonium nitrate, Neogel-90|
|Suspected perpetrators||Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami|
The Hyderabad bombings refers to the incident in which two bombs exploded almost simultaneously on 25 August 2007 in Hyderabad, capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The first bomb exploded in Lumbini Amusement Park ( ) at 19:45 hrs IST. The second bomb exploded five minutes later at 19:50 in Gokul Chat Bhandar ( ), a popular restaurant about 5 kilometres (3 mi) away. At least 42 people were reported to have died in the two bombings. Two more bombs were defused in other parts of the city. According to initial reports, the banned Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami militant outfit of Bangladesh is suspected for the serial blasts.
A day after the blasts, police discovered 19 unexploded bombs—most fitted with timers and placed in plastic bags—across Hyderabad at bus stops, by cinemas, road junctions and pedestrian bridges and near a public water fountain.
Since the blasts occurred at places popular among the general public on weekends, the victims of the blasts include people from different backgrounds and include several children and women. Among the victims were seven students from Amrutvahini College of Engineering Sangamner ( affiliated to University of Pune ) in Ahmednagar District in Maharashtra. A group of 45 students, who were visiting Hyderabad on a routine industrial tour, were enjoying a laser show at Lumbini Park when the auditorium was struck by the devastating explosion. The group was accompanied by four faculty members. Bodies of five of the students arrived at the Pune airport on 26 August afternoon and were received at the airport by a large crowd.
Central security agencies said that the banned Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (Huji) militant outfit from Bangladesh was possibly behind the twin blasts. It was suspected that Shahid and Bilal or Sahid Ilyas Bilal, who were the masterminds of the Mecca masjid blast were also behind Saturday's explosion. Shahid is reported to be in Karachi, Pakistan, and is instrumental in recruiting people for arms training from Hyderabad. Shahid Ilyas Bilal, who is also linked to the Mecca Masjid attacks is a high-ranking Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who has lately been working with Huji.
The government of Andhra Pradesh blamed terrorist groups based in Bangladesh and Pakistan for the two blasts. After an emergency meeting of the state cabinet, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy told reporters that "the available information points to the involvement of international terrorist organisations in Bangladesh and Pakistan". India's neighbours harbour a lot of fundamentalist and militant organisations, making her prone to blame other countries for such activities.
Madhukar Gupta, Union Home Secretary, has said that security agencies and state police suspect Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed. Shivraj Patil Minister for Home Affairs (India),specified terror groups based in Pakistan and Bangladesh were involved in the attacks.
Pakistan has denied accusations that its country was involved in the blasts and cautioned India against finger-pointing before carrying out proper investigations into such terror attacks. Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said, "These are terrorist attacks and we condemn them. We are ourselves victims of terrorism and remain committed to fighting terrorism. It is always better to investigate rather than to speculate,"
As investigators searched for clues, an expert said the explosives used in yesterday's blasts and the Mecca Masjid attack were different. "In the Mecca Masjid blasts, it was a RDX and TNT mixture...here it is entirely different (as some) ammonium nitrate-based chemical (was used)," said T Suresh, chief scientific officer of the CLUES bomb detection squad.
On 27 August, the Hyderabad police released the news that the bombs were constructed from Neogel-90, an ammonium nitrate-based explosive used commercially in road construction. The Telegraph reported that this caused suspicion to be 'divided' between the Huji, which is known to have used Neogel in the past, and Naxalite organisations from the interior of Andhra Pradesh, who have been "planning retaliation for the state government’s hot-pursuit campaign"; Neogel-90 has not previously been used illegally in India, but has been seized in the past from Naxalite groups in Kerala and Nepal.
Three people were picked up for questioning regarding the blast. Among them were a cycle shop owner, from Bibinagar, about 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Hyderabad. It is alleged that he supplied the steel balls used in the bombs.
Andhra Pradesh police are expected to go to Lucknow to interrogate Jalaluddin Mullah, alias Babu Bhai, a key member of the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (Huji). The 40-year-old born in a village in West Bengal is now in Lucknow jail. He was arrested in June 2007 by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force. He and Shahid Bilal were both working for Munir-ul-Islam alias Assadullah, a Huji commander in Dhaka. Babu Bhai was inducted into terror by Asif Reza Khan, who was accused in the Partho Burman kidnapping case in Kolkata, and killed by the Gujarat Police in 2001.
A group of four individuals was taken for questioning, the Pioneer notes:
|“||The police had caught the four-member gang including a Dubai national on Saturday and the same evening bombs had exploded in two busy public places in the city. The police have recovered fake currency worth Rs 2.36 crore. The commissioner said the fake currency notes in the denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 were brought from Pakistan via Dubai. When asked whether the terrorist elements involved in the blasts had used this money, he said the police were looking into the possibility.||”|
|“||Such vicious attacks prove that cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore, emerging icons of a vibrant nation, are firmly in the cross-hairs of terror groups which have made India a country with perhaps the highest number of civilian victims of terror (besides war-torn countries like Iraq). – Times of India.||”|
In the light of the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad, eminent forensic scientist P. Chandra Sekharan has urged the Government of India to establish a “National Explosives Control Bureau (NECB)” on the lines of the Narcotics Control Bureau.
India has since 2004 lost more lives to terrorist incidents than all of North America, South America, Central America, Europe and Eurasia put together. (This does not include casualties in Iraq or Afghanistan, and does include casualties in Kashmir and against the internal Maoist insurgency).
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