- Special Pages
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits a victim injured in bombings, at a hospital in Hyderabad.
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday appealed for calm as he flew to Hyderabad and visited some of the 117 people wounded in twin bombings last week which killed 16 people.
Singh also visited the blast site in Dilsukh Nagar, where two bicycle bombs exploded within a few minutes of each other outside a cinema and near a bus stand on Thursday evening.
The prime minister met with some of the blast survivors and medical staff in two city hospitals and expressed his condolences.
“It is most important that in this hour of grief the people should maintain calm,” he said.
“I am happy that the people of Hyderabad have refused to be provoked by this nefarious incident,” the prime minister told reporters.
“I pray for the speedy recovery of those who have been injured, to those who have died I send my condolences to all the bereaved families,” Singh added.
About 100 injured are undergoing treatment at six hospitals and the condition of six of them is critical.
The prime minister avoided road travel during his visit apparently due to security reasons.
After landing at Begumpet airport at 11 am, he flew in a helicopter to Victoria Memorial School near Dilsukhnagar. He then drove about 2.5km to reach the first blast site.
The prime minister first stopped at the Anand Tiffin Centre in front of Konark Theatre in Dilsukhnagar, where the first bomb exploded.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy briefed him about the terror attack. He walked up to the scene of the second blast, a few meters away.
After spending an hour visiting the two sites and the hospitals, Manmohan Singh flew back to the Begumpet airport.
Before returning to Delhi after his two-and-half hour visit, he held a meeting with Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, the chief minister and some top police officials, who briefed him about the progress made in the investigations so far.
The main opposition BJP party mocked the premier’s one-day trip to Hyderabad, saying the blasts were a result of the Indian government’s failure to tackle terrorism.
“The prime minister’s visit to Hyderabad is a non-event,” BJP leader Balbir Punj told reporters in New Delhi.
“In fact, if he and his government had been sensitive to the issue of terrorism in this country... this attack would not have taken place,” he said.
Andhra Pradesh Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy has said investigators have found “vital clues” but gave no details.
Newspapers have pointed the finger at the Indian Mujahideen, a banned militant outfit which has claimed responsibility for previous attacks.
The fitting of the explosive devices to bicycles was similar to other attacks by the outfit, local media reports quoted investigators as saying.
The homegrown group has links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant outfit blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed 166 lives, according to Indian intelligence officials.
New Delhi has long accused its neighbour of aiding and abetting the militant groups who have carried out attacks on Indian soil — a charge that Pakistan rejects.
AFP & IANS