Sunday, 26 August 2007

India Bomb Blasts Kill 40, Minister Blames Terrorists

By Ashok Bhattacharjee and Bibhudatta Pradhan

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Two bombs exploded in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad late yesterday, killing 40 people and injuring another 50. The state's chief minister said the attackers were linked to overseas terrorist groups.

One bomb blew up at a street-side restaurant in the Kothi area of the city, the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, while the other rocked an open-air auditorium in the Lumbini Park area, Jeevan Reddy, state minister for roads and buildings, said today in a telephone interview.

``Available information points out that terrorist organizations from Bangladesh and Pakistan are behind it,'' Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said in a televised briefing today. ``Most of the time, the external terrorist organizations are responsible for'' such attacks. He didn't elaborate, beyond saying that no arrests had been made.

Police defused a third bomb, set to explode at 10:35 p.m. local time yesterday, about three hours after the two blasts, Reddy said after a cabinet meeting in Hyderabad. The roads minister previously said two bombs had been defused.

``This is a terror plot, this is a terror attack,'' Hyderabad's Police Commissioner Balwinder Singh said in a telephone interview. ``But the situation is now under control.''

Muslim Population

Hyderabad has a large Muslim population among its 6.5 million residents. A bomb at a mosque on May 18 killed 11 people when it exploded during Friday afternoon prayers.

The Press Trust of India put the toll at 42 dead, citing police. The restaurant death toll was 32 and the fatalities at the open-air auditorium, where a laser show was going on, totaled 10, PTI said.

The chief minister appealed to people not to believe or propagate rumors and announced compensation payments of 500,000 ($12,000) rupees for the next of kin of those who died. Reddy also pledged a government job to those families that had lost their breadwinner.