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Blast at Mecca Masjid
In a major terror strike, 42 persons were killed and about 50 injured in two powerful near-simultaneous blasts at a crowded park and a popular eating joint in Hyderabad on Saturday evening.
Thirty-two people died when an explosion ripped through Gokul Chat Shop at Kothi locality at around 7.50 pm, Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad. Around 21 persons were wounded in this blast.
In another blast five minutes earlier at the Lumbini amusement park five km away, 10 people perished in a blast when a laser show was on, he said. The amusement park is situated near the state secretariat in the heart of the city.
Jana Reddy said about 500 people were in the auditorium at the time of the incident.
The blast ripped through the middle row of the auditorium when the show had just begun.
So powerful was the blast that some of bodies were flung into the air and scattered over the area.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh said the toll at Lumbini Park, overlooking the picturesque Hussain Sagar lake, may go up as it was teeming with week-end crowd.
Reddy said that "according to preliminary reports, it was a terrorist act."
A senior police official said the explosives used in the twin blasts on Satuday were similar to the one used by terrorists in the Mecca Masjid blasts in May 2006.
The police cordoned off the areas and sounded a red alert across Hyderabad and conducted searches at railway stations and bus depots.
Security in Hyderabad city has been tightened further in view of 10,000 weddings that are scheduled on Sunday.
The dead and injured were ferried to Osmania Hospital, Medicity and Yashoda hospital.
Gory scenes were witnessed at the Lumbini Park auditorium with limbs, blood, clothes and shoes of the people watching the laser show strewn around.
Explosive experts visited the sites and collected samples of the materials used in the blast.
After visiting the blast sites, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy told reporters that "it is definitely a terrorist act. It has claimed 30 lives. We are going into details."
He said the government would see to it that efforts were taken to restore peace.
Rajasekhar Reddy appealed to the people to maintain calm and not spread rumours.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] expressed deep concern over the blasts and the Union Home Ministry said it was monitoring the situation in Hyderabad.
Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said the blasts were the handiwork of some terrorist group.
"One terrorist group or the other, which is bent on destroying the unity of the country, is certainly involved in the blasts in Hyderabad," he said.
Rajasekhar Reddy reviewed the situation with Director-General of Police M A Basith and other top officials.
Additional Reportage: PTI
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