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'I heard a huge sound and something hit me, I fell down'

Source : AP
Last Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 19:18 hrs
Hyderabad bomb blasts: In Pictures

Mahesh Kumar, a 21-year-old student, was heading home from a tutoring class when a bomb went off.

"I heard a huge sound and something hit me, I fell down, and somebody brought me to the hospital," said Kumar, who suffered shrapnel wounds.

The pair of bombs exploded Thursday evening in a crowded shopping area in Hyderabad, killing at least 12 people and wounding scores of others in the worst bombing in the country in more than a year, officials said.

The blasts occurred about two minutes apart at around 7 p.m. outside a movie theater and a bus station, police said. Storefronts were shattered, motorcycles covered in debris, and food and plates from a roadside restaurant were scattered on the ground near a tangle of dead bodies. Passersby rushed the bleeding and wounded out of the area.



"This (attack) is to disturb the peaceful living of all communities in Andhra Pradesh," said Kiran Kumar Reddy, the state's chief minister.

The explosions Thursday were the first major bomb attack to hit India since a September 2011 blast outside the High Court in New Delhi killed 13 people. The government has been heavily criticized for its failure to arrest the masterminds behind previous bombings.

Officials from the National Investigation Agency and commandos of the National Security Guards were sent from New Delhi to Hyderabad to help with the investigation.

Rana Banerji, a former security official, said India remains vulnerable to such attacks because there is poor coordination between the national government and the states. Police reforms are also moving very slowly and the quality of intelligence gathering is poor, he said.

"The concept of homeland security should be made effective, on a war footing," he said.

India has been in a state of alert since Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri, was hanged in a New Delhi jail nearly two weeks ago. Guru had been convicted of involvement in a 2001 attack on India's Parliament that killed 14 people, including five gunmen.

Many in Kashmir believe Guru did not receive a fair trial, and the secrecy with which the execution was carried out fueled anger in a region where anti-India sentiment runs deep.

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