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Home > News > Report

Blast was terrorist attack: AP chief minister

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | May 19, 2007 23:19 IST

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy on Saturday evening asserted that the bomb blast at the historic Mecca Masjid during Friday prayers was a "terror attack" intended to create communal disharmony and disturb the peace and tranquility of the state in general and Hyderabad in particular.

Dr Reddy said this at a media briefing after the emergency meeting of the State cabinet held to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the bomb blast and subsequent police firings that resulted in a number of deaths. He said that it was a terrorist attack and not a communal incident.

He admitted that the central government and the state government were fully aware that the terrorists might target Hyderabad but there were no specific inputs on the places they would target.

"There are lot of clues in connection with Friday's incident and the culprits will be brought to book soon," he said and added that he did not want to disclose anything more as this juncture as it would hamper the investigations and the culprits would be alerted.

Giving a clean chit to the state police, the chief minister said the spontaneous action of the police after the incident had averted major communal riots.

If the police had not initiated immediate action, the situation would have been different. "The people should understand this. Our state police intelligence is one of the best in the country," he added.

He said the people of the state and the city, realising the evil designs of terrorists, remained calm. "The cabinet congratulated the people of the entire state who supported the government in its endeavour to restore normalcy in the aftermath of this attack. This clearly indicated that the people have faith in our democratic polity," he added.

"The terrorist organisations are bent upon creating disturbances in India with the sole intention to create communal disharmony and to hamper the development of the nation. The entire country is an open field for them to carry out their activities and Hyderabad is no exception," he said and noted that the people of Hyderabad did not fall prey to the evil designs of terrorists behind Friday's incident but helped the authorities in maintaining peace and tranquility.

"Terrorists have no religion or caste. Their intention is to only to disturb the peaceful lives of human beings. With this evil design in their minds, they carry out unscrupulous activities," he said.

He said the cabinet decided to extend all possible assistance to the kith and kin of the victims and also provide treatment to the injured at corporate hospitals. The cabinet observed two-minute silence as a mark of respect to the victims.

The cabinet also decided to instruct the administration to train volunteers and staff of religious places of worship to create awareness among them to avert this kind of incidents in the future, Rajasekhar Reddy said and added that the employees of the Mecca Masjid, which is maintained by the Minorities Welfare Department, would also be given training in this regard.

He said that the state government has made elaborate bandobust (arrangements) for the three-day mass congregation of Muslims (Ijtema of Tabligh-e-Jamaat) on the outskirts of the city. Over 2 lakh people from all over the country are attending the congregation, he added.

When reminded that he had referred to the hasty action of the police but now he was defending them, the Chief Minister claimed that that he had said so. The government would inquire into the police firings also, he said.

Stating that the situation in the city and the state was normal with no major untoward incident reported from anywhere, he said in a stray case of stone-pelting at Bhavinagar, two policemen were injured.

Home Minister K Jana Reddy said that as many as 16 people died, including nine in the bomb blast, five in police firing and the cause of death of two others was yet to be established. In all, 64 people sustained injuries. Three persons were discharged and the remaining injured persons were undergoing in the city hospitals like Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Yashoda Hospital, Owaisi Hospital and Care Hospital.

The home minister said that 92 platoons of armed police, including the Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force, City Armed Reserve and Greyhounds (special commandos) were deployed in the old city.

Minority Affairs Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir said that the police had withdrawn surveillance cameras and horse-mounted police which were deployed near Mecca Masjid every Friday on the request of Muslim elected representatives and religious leaders as they alleged that Muslims coming to prayers were being frisked and checked as if they were unsocial elements.