22 Feb 2013

20 killed in India bomb blasts

10:46 am on 22 February 2013

Twin bombings have killed at least 20 people outside a cinema and bus stop in the Indian city of Hyderabad.

The bombings on Thursday evening targeted a mainly Hindu district in Hyderabad, a hub of India's computing industry in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, which hosts local offices of Google and Microsoft among other Western IT companies.

Witnesses said one of the devices went off about 15 metres from the entrance to a cinema in the popular retail district of Dilsukh Nagar and the second exploded next to a nearby bus stop.

The first explosion went off just as movie-goers were making their way out of the cinema at the end of a show. Some had stopped at food stalls when the deafening blast went off.

A government minister said the bombs, which went off in quick succession, were planted on bicycles.

Doctors struggled to treat a stream of wounded victims as bloodied patients lay on stretchers at city hospitals and anguished relatives clamoured for news of their loved ones, AFP reports.

Hyderabad deputy inspector of police Shiv Kumar said there was no doubt that "this is a terror attack" while adding there had been no claim of responsibility.

Mr Kumar said 20 people died in the attacks, while an officer in the police control room said 82 people had been wounded.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the perpetrators of the "dastardly act" would be punished.

The nation was already on alert after the recent hanging of a separatist unleashed protests in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

The attacks are the most serious to hit India since 13 people died in a 2011 bombing outside the High Court in New Delhi.

Hyderabad is due to host a Test match between Australia and India from 2 March but a statement from the Australian side said it was now in talks with Indian authorities and stressed that the safety of its players was "paramount".