23:39 Shinde's regret is 'nonsense', says RSS supremo:
RSS supremo Mohanrao Bhagwat today termed Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's expression of regret for his 'Hindu terror' remark as an attempt to appease a particular section of voters for the next elections.
Appearing in no mood to forgive Shinde for his terror remark and subsequent regret, Bhagwat while answering a query from a public during a question-answer session, said, "His (Shinde's) remarks as well as regret are nonsense (bakwas)".
He said the Sangh Parivar never believed in violence and if the ministry of Home Affairs has any prima facie proof of they being remotely connected to any form of violence, then instead of voicing the same in public, the minister should take appropriate legal action on it.
22:49 Court rejects CBI'c closure report in Sachan case:
A local court today rejected closure report of the CBI regarding death of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Y S Sachan inside Lucknow jail under mysterious circumstances and directed the agency to continue with the investigation.
The order was passed by special judicial magistrate (CBI) Neelkant Mani Tripathi. While CBI had termed Sachan's death as homicide, the deputy CMO's wife, Malti Sachan, had filed a protest application alleging that it was murder.
V K Shahi, counsel of Malti, said that in earlier hearings, the court had heard arguments of both the sides and reserved his decision.
Sachan was found dead inside the toilet on the first floor of the district jail on June 22, 2011 and the post mortem by a panel of doctors had found injuries and one ante mortem injury.
22:12 IM's Yasin Bhatkal was let off in Kolkata in 2008:
Yasin Bhatkal, one of the co-founders of the banned Indian Mujahideen, was arrested by Kolkata Police in 2008 in a fake currency case, but was let off. One of the country's most-wanted men, Bhatkal was released soon. West Bengal Police tonight said this is nothing new.
"This is nothing new. The whole world knows it," Joint Commissioner of Police, STF, Rajib Mishra said tonight when asked whether Bhatkat, a suspect in the Hyderabad serial blasts, was arrested in a fake currency case here in 2008.
21:52 Prime minister to travel to Germany in April:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Germany in April to discuss ways to enhance strategic co-operation between the two countries in various areas, including energy and infrastructure.
During the visit, Singh would hold discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. German Ambassador Michael Steiner today said the second round of government consultations under Singh and Merkel would be held in Berlin on April 11.
Speaking at a reception hosted for a Bavarian business delegation at his residence in New Delhi, Steiner said the discussions would be on shaping strategic partnership in crucial areas. These include "vocational training, university exchange and language learning, energy dialogue and environment co-operation in infrastructure projects", the ambassador said. Both countries have a good economic relationship and Germany is one of the largest trading partners of India.
21:21 Pak: LeJ leader arrested over attacks on Shias:
The leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, responsible for terror attacks on the minority Shia sect that killed nearly 200 in Quetta, was arrested in Pakistan today, even as security forces killed two other members of the group in a pre-dawn operation.
The former head of Sunni extremist group, Malik Ishaq was taken into "protective custody" for a month under the Maintenance of Public Order law from his residence in Rahim Yar Khan district, 400 km from Lahore.
Before the arrest, Ishaq held an hour-long meeting with district police chief Sufail Zafar and agreed to "surrender", sources said. Ishaq also invited reporters to his residence before his arrest and told them that he would continue his "mission". He claimed: "I have no link with the carnage in Quetta. We want peace in the country."
The LeJ claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta that killed 91 people and injured nearly 200.
21:17 UPA coordination panel meeting on February 26:
A meeting of the UPA coordination committee will be held on February 26 to finalise the strategy of the ruling coalition in the three-month-long Budget Session of Parliament which began yesterday.
The meeting has been convened hours after the presentation of the Railway Budget and ahead of the unveiling of the General Budget 2013-14 which is expected to be a populist affair.
With Lok Sabha polls just 15 months away, this will be the last full-fledged budget of the Congress-led coalition which is in office since May 2004. The frequency of meetings of the coordination committees had increased sometime back when NCP protested against allies being not considered by the Congress on a regular basis. However, there have been very few such interactions since Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA last year.
Besides several issues, the issue of Telangana is expected to figure at the deliberations convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had suggested the need for such an early meeting to discuss Telangana.
20:45 Fire in state-run hospital in Kolkata:
Patients were today evacuated from the emergency block of the state-run R G Kar Medical College and Hospital after a fire broke out in Kolkata. There was no casualty, police sources said.
Panic ruled for about 30 minutes as the second floor of the emergency block was engulfed in smoke, with hospital employees hurriedly shifting patients to safety, police sources said.
The fire was doused in 30 minutes by two fire engines, they said. Relatives of patients alleged that a locked collapsible gate had to be broken open for shifting the patients.
Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya visited the hospital and said an inquiry would be made to ascertain the cause of the fire.
20:31 US consulate shut in Hyderabad after blasts:
A day after twin blasts rocked Hyderabad, the US Consulate in the city today remained shut and issued an "emergency message" asking American nationals to be more vigilant.
"In light of the recent bomb blasts in the Hyderabad area of Dilsukhnagar, US citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their personal security awareness and report any suspicious activity to local authorities," the Consulate said.
Soon after the blast, the Consulate through the post on its website said that it will remain closed on Friday for visa and other services, "while the incident is being investigated".
"We are continuing to monitor the situation and urge US citizens to follow media reports for further updates," it said. The US Consulate General in Hyderabad also asked its employees to remain vigilant in crowded areas such as public transportation systems.
"Until the police investigation in the area is concluded, US Consulate General Hyderabad employees are told to not travel to the impacted area, practice good security, and remain vigilant in crowded areas such as public transportation systems (subways, buses, and railway stations).
20:20 Oscar Pistorius granted bail in Steenkamp case:
BBC: South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who faces murder charges over the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, has been granted bail after a lengthy hearing. The Paralympic sprinter denies murder, saying he shot Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder at his home.
The prosecution had argued that bail should be refused because there was a risk Mr Pistorius, 26, would abscond. Magistrate Desmond Nair said the state had not made a case that he would flee, or that he had a violent character. The magistrate said that Mr Pistorius had "reached out to meet the state's case" at an early stage. Mr Nair took two hours to deliver his judgement.
19:44 Delhi gang rape: Metropolitan magistrate testifies:
The metropolitan magistrate, who had recorded the statement of the December 16 Delhi gang rape victim, today testified before a fast court conducting the trial in the case.
The magistrate had recorded the statement of the 23-year-old paramedic at Safdarjung hospital here after the statement recorded by the sub-divisional magistrate had run into controversy following the allegation that a Delhi Police official had interfered with it.
The metropolitan magistrate deposed as a prosecution witness during in-camera proceedings against the five adult accused, who have been charged with rape and murder of the victim. The sixth accused is a juvenile who is facing trial before the Juvenile Justice Board. The magistrate, who appeared before Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, will be cross-examined by the counsel for the five accused -- bus driver Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Singh-- tomorrow.
19:38 HP govt takes possession of Ramdev's trust land:
Possession of land given to Ramdev's trust Patanjali Yogpeeth by the previous BJP regime was today taken over by the Himachal authorities in a "swift but peaceful action", three days after the state government decided to cancel its lease.
A team of Soland district officials led by Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Solan, C P Verma, SDM, Kandaghat, L R Verma and SP, R C Chhasta reached Sadhupul, and informed the functionaries of the trust that the lease of the 28 acres of land, given to the yogpeeth in 2010, has been cancelled. The officials took over the possession of the land and the structures on it and made inventory of all the articles and also sealed the premises, government sources said.
19:35 Suriyanelli rape: Complaint lodged against Kurien:
In a new twist to Suriyanelli gang rape case, the victim today lodged a police complaint insisting that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien be made an accused.
The complaint lodged at Chingavanam police station also sought that Dharmarajan, an absconding convict who had jumped bail in the case and was arrested recently from Karnataka, and two other persons -- Unnikrishnan and Jamal, be also arraigned as accused.
According to the complainant, Dharmarajan had told a television channel that he had accompanied Kurien to Kumily rest house in his car on February 19, 1996 where the victim had been sexually exploited. The victim and her parents had come to the police station to file the complaint.
The assistant sub-inspector accepted the complaint but refused to register the case saying the Sub-Inspector was not present, the victim's counsel Anila George said. She said the victim's plea was to make Kurien an accused. So far, there is no police case or FIR against Kurien.
18:57 Why I choose to be childless:
A growing number of American women are deciding to skip having kids. We have our own theories about what's behind the shift, but now we want to hear your stories. Tell us here.
18:39 High alert along India's border with other countries: BSF DG:
A high alert has been sounded along India's borders with other countries and special measures taken in view of the blasts at Hyderabad, Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) Subhash Joshi said today.
"After the blasts at Hyderabad we have alerted our forces and the border is safe in the hands of the BSF. Special measures have been taken and we are ready to face any challenge," Joshi said.
To a question on the western border with Pakistan, he said, "We have new plans and new strategies to protect the border which I am not going to discuss here, but we are sure that we can deal with the situation. We have the resources and motivation." Joshi, who met Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, said, 95 per cent of the barbed wire fencing along the 4,095 kms border with Bangladesh was complete and work on the remaining portion was progressing.
18:32 Can DD's new look attract profits:
After it became the first TV channel in India in 1959, the public broadcaster Doordarshan enjoyed a monopoly on viewership for decades. Even after the government opened the airwaves to private players in 1992, Doordarshan enjoyed a 90 percent share of the audience in the 1990s and had no reason to take the threat of competition seriously.
Twenty years later, its rivals have not only caught up, but they have surpassed Doordarshan in terms of revenue. Read
18:27 Khurshid: Without unity, enemies will attack again :
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday called for national unity in wake of the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad, and termed it as an act of external aggression. Khurshid said it is time that India stands united to fight terror.
"We should take out ideology and our society towards the proper path so that we can stand together in unity and face our enemies. Our enemies are repeatedly attacking us. If we have to counter them effectively then we can do it only by national unity," Khurshid told media in New Delhi.
"We cannot achieve this by scoring points on each other and indulging in politics against each other," he added.
18:16 Expect major traffic bottlenecks between Prabhadevi-Bandra:
Traffic alert: All roads going from Prabhadevi to Bandra are clogged. These include LJ Road and Tulsi Pipe road. Delays upto 45 minutes are expected. Commuters are advised to take the Bandra Worli Sea Link to reach Bandra. Commuters going towards Sion are advised to take Babasaheb Ambedkar Road. For further traffic updates, call Traffline at 9223111000.
18:05 All hands to deck: Maha ATS hits Hyderabad:
A Maharashtra ATS team, involved in the Pune explosion probe, is in Hyderabad to coordinate with investigators probing the Hyderabad twin blasts, which is suspected to be the handiwork of Indian Mujahideen (IM).
"A seven-member team from our side has gone to Hyderabad. We are in touch with AP police as well as NIA officials," a senior Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad officer said in Mumbai today.
"Our team has visited the terror site and is providing all help to the investigators. As the preliminary probe suggested that the twin blasts could be the handiwork of IM, we are sharing all information we had gathered about this terror group with the AP Police," he said.
The Delhi Police along with Hyderabad Police is expected to interrogate an alleged IM terrorist, arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, from a place in Hyderabad last October. Maqbool, currently lodged in Tihar jail, had said the outfit was planning terror strikes in some places in Hyderabad for which recce had been carried out.
Maqbool and Imran, natives of Maharashtra's Nanded district, arrested in connection with last year's low- intensity blasts in Pune that left one injured, had recced Dilsukhnagar and Begum Bazaar localities of Hyderabad to plot the attack following instructions from the home-grown terror outfit's founder Riyaz Bhatkal.
Also read: Bhatkal: The name that spells terror
17:53 Hyd blast: Rs 6 lakh compensation to permanently disabled:
The Andhra Pradesh government today announced a compensation of Rs 6 lakh each to those who suffered permanent disability in the twin bomb blasts at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad, which claimed 16 lives and left over 100 injured.
The state government had already announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 6 lakh each to the kin of those killed in the blasts yesterday.
Talking to reporters after a meeting Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held with a group of ministers this afternoon, state Information and Public Relations Minister D K Aruna said 117 injured people were undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the city.
Condition of four of the injured was critical, she said. "The government would bear the entire medical expenditure of all the injured," she added.
17:51 Meet the best ambassadors of India's North-East:
No, they are not politicians, bureaucrats or film stars, but a group of young singers who can stir the rusted chords of your soul with the power of their voice. Ladies and gentlemen... the Shillong Chamber Choir... Read Archana Masih's
report from Shillong.
17:48 One of India's most politically unstable states goes to the polls:
In other stories: Did you even know that there was an election happening in Meghalaya? (Or for that matter, do you know where the state is?)Only one chief minister has had a full term in office in Meghalaya's 41-year history. Meghalaya, one of the most peaceful states in the North-East, is a woman-dominated traditional society, but the outgoing assembly had only one lady MLA!Archana Masih
reports from Shillong on the election in arguably India's most politically unstable state. Read
17:43 Have stopped terror modules, this one got through: MHA:
National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon today said the government will act against every terrorist module operating in the country. While refusing to make any specific comment on the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad, Menon said that investigations have just started.
"Don't jump to conclusions. Once we know, we will tell you," he said. Replying to questions, he said, "there are different terrorist modules. They try and strike. We know some of them which we have to stop. This one got through." "We will act against every one of them," he said.
17:32 Mehra panel report on Delhi rape: Friend's version differed:
Just in: The Justice Usha Mehra committee report on the Delhi gang-rape case is out. Early reports say the following:
1. There was no delay in police response
2. Version told by friend of the victim to the police different from what he told media
3. PCR vans completely missed stopping the bus where the girl was raped.
The government had formed a committee of enquiry under Justice Usha Mehra to reconstruct the events leading to the 16 December Delhi gang rape, identify lapses by police and other agencies and fix responsibility for the crime.
17:23 Hyderabad blasts: NIA fans out to Bihar, UP, Pune :
A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will visit Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Pune to question alleged Indian Mujahideen members arrested in various blast cases.
Investigators will also question Maqbool alias Zuber who was arrested in connection with the Pune blasts case. There is some evidence to show that the 13/7 and the Pune blasts were linked to the one at Hyderabad.
The questioning of Maqbool would be crucial for the investigators as he is the one who is said to have carried out the recce along with Yasin Bhatkal of Dilsukhnagar.
The NIA will also visit the residence of Tabrez in Azamgarh and try to get more clues regarding his whereabouts. Tabrez has however not returned to Azamgarh since 2008 and as per the statement of his family he had left to do his pharmacy course in Delhi in 2008.
17:18 'States take intel inputs from Centre lightly':
"The government is taking firm steps to counter terrorism. Let's not play politics over this," says Shinde. "The government will not slack in solving the case. We will not allow VVIPs to visit the bomb blasts's site and disrupt the work of the police," says Shinde.
The home minister also pitched for the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) saying the government was always for it, but it did not receive support from many states.
"Intelligence inputs from the Centre is generally taken lightly by the states. This is also because we receive intel inputs every 15 days and it is difficult to take all the inputs seriously," says Shinde. Alerts had been issued on the Hyderabad blasts on February 16, 19 and the 20th, he says.
17:03 Shinde: Few countries have specific intelligence:
"I had ordered the intelligence agencies to remain alert in the aftermath of the two executions [Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru]. We did not have specific intelligence, but few countries have specific intelligence," says Shinde.
The home minister came under sharp attack from Opposition as well as UPA allies SP and DMK, which trashed his statement on Hyderabad blasts as "totally disappointing" and "devoid of any concrete and meaningful plan of action".
Shinde made a statement in the House on yesterday's blasts saying government will make all possible efforts to apprehend the perpetrators and masterminds. The opposition was, however, dissatisfied with the statement and accused the government of treating the issue of terror in a "very casual" manner.
16:59 Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde speaking in the Rajya Sabha again.
16:19 Andhra CM: I take full responsibility for blasts :
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy tells CNN IBN that he takes responsibility for the twin blasts in Hyderabad. "The Andhra Pradesh police were caught off-guard, but we will deal with the situation firmly and ensure a fast-track trial," says Reddy.
16:16 'Insurgency can't be resolved by the gun':
Even as the country focuses on the twin blasts in Hyderabad, Meghalaya is set to go to the polls tomorrow. Conrad Sangma, 35, Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Meghalaya assembly, explains to Rediff.com's Archana Masih
the need for a fresh approach to solve the problem of insurgency in the state, the reasons for the lack of women in state politics and the need for cultural exchanges between the North-East and the rest of India.Read
the report from Mawkyrwat, Meghalaya.
15:59 Is this the gang of 3 which carried out the blasts?:
Hyderabad blasts probe: Investigators probing three specific names in the blasts -- one each from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand. The Hyderabad police says during a raid at a lodge on January 18, a suspect escaped just before the raid. The NIA says that two operatives Tabrez and Waqas who were part of the 13/7 blasts could be involved in this attack as well. Tabrez who goes by the alias Asadullah Akthar is a resident of Uttar Pradesh and is the son of a doctor from Azamgargh. He carries a reward of Rs 10 lakh on him.Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa
reports that Tabrez (26) along with Waqas (also 26)had planted the bomb at the Zaveri Bazar and Opera House during the 13/7 blasts. Both these men were acting on the instructions of Yasin Bhatkal who is also a suspect in the Hyderabad blasts.
The sketches of both Tabrez and Waqas were released after the 13/7 blasts. Tabrez is believed to have gone missing since 2008 and the police suspect that he had joined the Indian Mujahideen.
However, his father in Azamgarh, UP, denied these allegations and said that his son is Asadullah and not Tabrez as is being made out by the police.
Full report by Vicky Nanjappa on rediff.com shortly.
Tabrez and Waqas were last spotted in Byculla with Yasin Bhatkal but managed to give the slip following a goof-up by the Mumbai police.
15:36 Injuries of blast victims similar to those hit in 2007:
The nature of injuries sustained by the victims in the twin blasts that rattled Hyderabad now and the 2007 terror blasts are similar, a forensic expert said here today.
The autopsy of the victims showed that the impact of the explosion was felt more in 2007 than it is now though the victims had similar injuries, the expert, who was involved in both the investigations, said.
"Iron particles were found inside the bodies of the victims.We found nuts, bolts, nails, pieces of glass then and also now," the expert said. In the twin blasts that hit Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad yesterday, 16 people were killed and 117 injured.
45 people lost their lives in bomb blasts that occurred at the Lumbini Park and Gokul chat shop in 2007.
15:30 Naidu tells Shinde: Show some courage, conviction:
Naidu enumerates the same issues: Action plan on terrorism, government's apathy, terrorism has no religion. Blah blah blah... Naidu wants to know who are the locals who are supporting terror modules, why do terror attacks keep occurring in Hyderabad, what is the state government doing to counter the attacks.. etc...
"I want to tell the home minister, show some show courage, show conviction, and finally take action. I assure you, we will be with you," says Naidu.
15:18 Hurt Shinde reacts to casual barb: I haven't slept!:
Not a word of his statement can be heard as Shinde reads it out. His own party members are talking among themselves. Chaos. Shinde finishes his statement and sits down. Unlikely any Parliamentarian has heard what he had to say, but it's the same statement that Shinde read out in the LS.
BJP's Venkaiah Naidu says the home minister should have gone to the site of the twin blasts last night when it happened. "It shows the casual approach of the government. When such a situation occurs, the home minister has to be present in the House. He cannot expect the Parliamentarians to await his arrival," says Naidu.
An upset Shinde says he woke up at 4 am to go to Hyderabad. "I haven't slept the whole night. At least make sure you have your information right," Shinde says.
Naidu replies, "That's what is expected. You haven't done us any favour."
15:11 Opposition ruckus drowns out Shinde's speech in RS:
The home minister is yet to read out his statement in the Rajya Sabha, but the post-lunch session has begun.
Shinde reads out the same statement in the Rajya Sabha, amid increased ruckus from opposition benches. Shinde can barely make himself heard. Lok Sabha was better behaved. Shinde braved on.
15:04 Sushma echoes Venkaiah's 'casual approach' comments :
Sushma Swaraj's response to the home minister's statement in Parliament today was in fact an echo of her colleague Venkaiah Naidu's comments earlier.
Naidu accused the government of having a casual approach on the issue of terror, and said it "failed" to take effective steps to prevent blasts in Hyderabad.
"The government's response is not adequate to the burning issue of terrorism. Government is taking it in a casual and usual manner," BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.
"This is a very serious issue. Series of bomb blasts are happening and especially in Hyderabad and the government is unable to take any effective step. Information in received that National Investigation Agency had mentioned Hyderabad, Bangalore, Maharashtra and other areas where there is possibility of such blasts," he said.
The BJP leader said NIA had given this information two days ago which was confirmed by Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde himself.
"It is a serious issue and the government is not prepared to discuss the issue. We want MPs to express their views and then Home Minister should give his statement."
14:52 Security tightened in Mathura after Hyderabad twin blasts:
In the wake of twin blasts in Hyderabad, the security has been stepped up in temples and oil refineries here. "As soon as we got the information about blasts in Hyderabad last evening, the security was immediately tightened around the temples of Mathura and Vrindavan and refineries situated on Agra-Delhi highway," SSP Pradeep Yadav said. All the security forces have been alerted to deal with any unfortunate situation, he said.
14:49 Who said what on the blasts:
Statements from other parties on the Hyderabad twin blasts.
Anant Geete (Shiv Sena): The incident occurred when there were threats to take revenge after the hanging. Terrorism was being sponsored from across the border and Pakistan has launched a proxy war against India for long.
Sharifuddin Shariq (National Conference): The "devil's acts" needed to be condemned by one and all, there was also a need to go into the causes of terrorism in order to wipe out the menace. He also demanded an all-party meeting, convened by the Prime Minister, for a holistic discussion on the problem.
T R Baalu (DMK) sought joint action by the Centre and the states to tackle terror.
B Mahtab (BJD) wanted to know where the "disconnect" between intelligence agencies and the police lay. "It must not have been an instant decision of the terrorists to carry out such a dastardly attack. It must have taken at least 2-3 days, certain information must have passed through. Did the government know about this?" he said.
Narahari Mahto (Forward Bloc) said yesterday's incident highlighted yet another lapse on part of the central and state governments. He wanted the government to state how it plans to check such incidents.
14:49 Sushma: Centre's responsibility doesn't end with informing states:
Sushma's statement was interrupted by the deputy speaker, asking her to be keep her statement concise. Sushma erupted, "How can I keep it concise when 16 people have died and 117 have been injured?
She asks if the Centre's responsibility ends with just informing the states about impending terror attacks. "The Centre has to help the states as well. The home minister needs to explain what steps are being taken to prevent such instances," she said.
Kamal Nath says the government is ready for a discussion on the blasts, but amid the ruckus, the house was adjourned till 3.30 pm. Shinde set to speak in Rajya Sabha, but the house was adjourned a well, since Shinde is in the Lok Sabha.
14:49 Home minister's statement was matter-of-fact: Sushma:
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj says the home minister's speech was matter-of-fact. "He first spoke about the situation in Hyderabad now, the PM's ex-gratia payments to the affected and then ended his speech.
"Afzal Guru was hanged after nine years. You knew that terror attacks were possible. What did you do to stop the attack?" she asks.
14:48 Shinde to Parliament: Situation is under control :
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde addresses the Lok Sabha over the twin blasts in Hyderabad. Reading from his notes, Shinde says IEDs were placed in bicycles. 16 persons have died and 117 were injured in the blasts. Four people are critically injured. The crime scene was cordoned off and a team of NIA, police were pressed into service.
Shinde says he went to the blast site this morning as well. The PM has announced a Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia to families of deceased and Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh to the injured.
The situation is under control and the government is taking all possible measures to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
Sushma Swaraj speaking now.
14:16 Case registered on twin blasts:
The Andhra Pradesh Police has registered a case on the twin blasts that ripped through a crowded market in Dilsukhnagar area of the state capital, leaving 16 dead and 120 injured.
The case was registered at Saroornagar Police Station under relevant sections of IPC on charges of sedition, promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion, voluntarily causing hurt by using dangerous weapons, conspiracy and also under Explosives Act, a senior police official said. Some of the sections of IPC mentioned include 324, 326, 307, 302, 124-A, 153-A, 201 read with 120-B, he said.
13:57 Why original plan to bomb temple was changed:
@mahrukhinayet: Call it 'blast tourism', stupidity or plain voyuerism - just heard a man tell his wife - 'see those r the blood stains'
A major lead that has emerged in the investigations in the Hyderabad blasts that has left 16 dead and 119 injured, is that the plan to attack the Sai Baba temple at Dilsukhnagar, was changed at the last minute thanks to a visit by the commissioner of police to the temple last evening.
Sources in the NIA and the Hyderabad police say that had the Sai Baba temple indeed been used to plant a bomb, the death toll would crossed 50.
As per information available now, the plan was to plant three bombs in the area of the temple. But the terrorists found it difficult to place the bombs since the place was swarming with cops when the police commissioner visited the area.
The attackers had initially decided to target the devotees at the temple, but had it appears that they had a back up plan as well, which was to plant the bomb in other places. - Vicky Nanjappa
13:40 Are Hyderabad blasts the handiwork of locals?:
The limited geographical area of the twin blasts rules out the involvement of a large team of terrorists. The objective of the perpetrators was obviously to cause fatalities as an act of reprisal, says B Raman. Read
13:32 2nd Test will not be shifted from Hyderabad: BCCI:
The BCCI today made it clear that the second cricket Test between India and Australia will go ahead as per schedule in Hyderabad since the state government has assured of safety and security of the players.
The city of Hyderabad was rocked by two terror blasts yesterday, killing 14 people and injuring many. The visiting Australian players and officials had expressed concerns but BCCI today assured them all safety measures would be in place.
Senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla said they saw no reason to shift the Hyderabad Test, scheduled to begin from March 2, from the city.
The toll in yesterday's blasts stands at 16 dead and 119 injured.
Shukla, who is also IPL Chairman, said BCCI President N Srinivasan will speak to Cricket Australia Chairman to assure him of the security of the players.
"I have conveyed to BCCI President, who in turn is going to speak to Chairman of Cricket Australia to convey that when government is giving guarantee of safety and security of the players and the spectators, I think we should not change the venue," Shukla said.
The first Test match has started in Chennai today.
13:24 Sushma calls on parties to fight terror unitedly:
And the statement from the main opposition party, the BJP.
''The nation needs to be united, the political parties need to get united. The moment that happens, we will be capable of fighting terror," Sushma Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha.
Asserting that terrorists have no religion, Sushma said: "Terrorists only follow the code of terrorism. We need to be united against terrorism." She further said that this is not the moment to lay blame, but to work together to combat terrorism.
"However, we need to have a common sentiment against terror. My regret is that there''s no common line of thought on tackling terrorism," she said. She further said that the BJP would wait till the return of the Home Minister from Hyderabad and for his statement before saying anything more on the topic.
13:21 We must not fall into the trap of terrorists: Nitish Kumar:
Condemning Thursday's twin blasts in Hyderabad, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and calm to defeat the terrorists.
"We must not to fall into the trap of terrorists who want to create divisions. Terrorists are trying to destabilize normal life. We have to stay determined and maintain peace," Kumar said.
13:12 Blasts: In a first, Opposition unites with govt :
Coming up, which party said what, on the Hyderabad blasts...
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday condemned Thursday evening''s twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad and questioned why the government had been unable to prevent these incidents despite having relevant intelligence inputs.
"The government must explain what shortcomings are there that such attacks are taking place," Yadav said.
"The whole country, the house is with them, so the government must explain where we are lacking? Even after we had the information, how can an incident like this take place," he said.
"An incident like this impacts the whole country, people are living in fear...We need to know what is the strategy the govt is adopting," he added. He, however, said the government could count of the support of all political parties in tackling terrorism.
12:57 Hyderabad, a history of terror:
Hyderabad was rocked by two bomb blasts Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks on the software services center and capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Read
12:55 Parents of drowned sailor of oil tanker ship kill themselves:
The middle-aged parents of a Pratibha Cauvery sailor who drowned after the ship ran aground off the Chennai coast on October 31 committed suicide by hanging at their residence in Arakkonam on Friday.
They left behind a suicide note which blamed the government and the shipping agency for negligence and inaction.Sailor Niranjan's father K N Kothandapani, 56 and mother S K Bharathi, 50, were found hanging from the same rope, police said.
Niranjan was among the five sailors who drowned after they abandoned the ship and their lifeboat capsized near the Besant Nagar beach. Read
12:42 Pistorius: Indian-origin detective to be lead investigator :
In other news: The South African police has replaced Hilton Botha, who was the lead investigator in Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's death case, with a team headed by country's top detective, Vinesh Moonoo.
Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp after she was found shot dead in his Pretoria home last week, News24 reports.
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel began the day on Thursday by telling the Pretoria Magistrate's Court during Pistorius' bail hearing that he was caught unaware when reports surfaced that the investigator in the case, Botha, was himself charged with attempted murder, the paper said.
12:38 The Rajya Sabha is still adjourned, but the Lok Sabha is in session. Discussion on the Hyderbad blasts. The home minister will address the Lok Sabha at 2 pm, and the Rajya Sabha at 2.30 pm.
12:36 Sushma: Will be unified, but where is will to fight terror?:
As the Lok Sabha reconvened after an hour's break over ruckus in the house due to the Hyderabad blasts, leader of the Opposition in the lower house, Sushma Swaraj, said, "This was not the time to trade charges, but to be unified, you need consensus on fighting
terror. The will and the intent to fight terror has to be there."
12:31 Hyderabad blasts KILL student's dream to become a cop:
A trip to purchase books for the exam of sub-inspector in the excise department proved to be the last outing of Vijay Kumar, who was among the five students killed in the twin blasts in the city. Among the other students killed was Rajasekhar, who was pursuing MBA, Harish, an engineering student from Kottapet locality in the city, and Swapna, another MBA student. Read
12:19 Hyderabad blasts: 16 dead, 119 injured, 12 bodies handed over :
The death toll in the twin blasts in Hyderabad today mounted to 16 with two more persons succumbing to their injuries in a hospital.
"Till now, out of 14 bodies, 12 have been handed over to their kin. Two more bodies are in the mortuary. One has to be identified. 14 bodies have directly been sent to Osmania Hospital. Two more are awaited from private hospitals," a senior doctor at the state-run Osmania General Hospital said.
The hospital has received 37 people with injuries while some of them have been admitted to corporate hospitals, he said. As many as 119 people sustained injuries in the twin blasts last evening, police said.
12:17 Did the LeT's Maqbool plan blasts from Tihar?:
So, how have investigating agencies linked the Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT)and the Indian Mujahideen (IM) to the Hyderabad blasts?
The investigations conducted by the Delhi police showed that the IM had done a recce in Hyderabad and the man responsible for it was a certain Maqbool who was recruited by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The toll in last evening's powerful explosions has climbed to 16. Five of the 119 injured are stated to be in a critical condition.
Forensic experts of the NSG and the NIA and state police were examining all materials found from the blast sites and a final report was awaited.
The Delhi Police, along with Hyderabad Police, is expected to interrogate an alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorist, arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police from a place in Hyderabad last October.
Maqbool, who is currently in Tihar jail, had said the outfit was planning terror strikes in some places in Hyderabad for which recce had been carried out.
The Delhi police dossier of Maqbool, a copy of which has been handed over to the NIA and the Hyderabad police shows that he was spotted by a man called Azam Ghori way back in 1999. Ghori, a Lashkar operative met with Maqbool at Nizambad during a Tableeghi Jamaat meeting.
Maqbool was only 17 at that time and is said to have shown a great deal of promise to the cause. During that meeting the duo discussed social causes and also the problems that the community was facing. Ghori was impressed with Maqbool and told him to join the LeT.
-- Vicky Nanjappa and PTI
12:00 Blasts: Shinde rubbishes inputs of specific alert :
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today visited the twin bomb blasts site at Dilsukhnagar here even as the toll in the attack rose to 14.
Shinde, who reached Hyderabad by a special flight this morning, drove straight to Dilsukhnagar and went around the blast site. Speaking to reporters, he said 14 people were killed in the blast and 110 were injured, six of them critically. Investigation have begun and the state government has appointed a probe team, he said.
Replying to a query about inputs suggesting that a blast might take place in Hyderabad, he said there was no specific alert and only a general alert was issued to the states.
11:53 Blasts: CCTV footage shows two men planting bombs:
Unconfirmed reports suggest that CCTV cables had been cut at the blast site in Hyderabad. However, the investigating team has in fact, managed to get footage from one of the cameras installed at the bus station, reports Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa.
Preliminary reports suggest that there were two people who had planted the bombs around 10 minutes before they were timed to go off.
Police sources also confirmed that some images have been obtained from the camera that was installed by the police at the bus station in Dilsukhnagar. "We are examining the images at the moment. The pictures are not too clear, but we should be able to get something out of it," a police official said. Asked about the the cut CCTV cables, police sources said they were not aware of it.
The police has also called eyewitnesses to help with a sketch of the culprits.
11:50 Italian marines to go home to vote for elections:
Just in: The Supreme Court has permitted the two Italian marines accused of killing four Indian fishermen to go home to vote in their Parliamentary elections. The marines had approached the SC seeking permission. They have been allowed to go to Italy for four weeks.
The two marines, Lattore Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, shot dead two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, on February 15, 2012, allegedly taking them for pirates, and were arrested four days later.
The court had also allowed them to go home for Christmas.
11:32 The truth must be told:
New photographs of a 12-year-old Balachandran Prabakaran in the apparent custody of Sri Lankan security personnel in the final days of the war against the Tamil Tigers have caused widespread anguish and outrage, and understandably so. Read
11:27 Hyderabad blasts: Five young students among 14 dead:
A trip to purchase books for the exam of sub-inspector in Excise department proved to be the last outing of Vijay Kumar, who was among the five students killed in the twin blasts in the city.
Among the other students killed was Rajasekhar, who was pursuing MBA, Harish, an engineering student from Kottapet locality in the city, and Swapna, another MBA student. Vijay Kumar had come to the site to purchase some books as he was preparing to take the examination for the post of sub-inspector in Prohibition and Excise department when the blast took place.
Another deceased student - Azaz Ahmed - of Kottagudem in Khammam too had came to purchase books. Bodies of 13 out of the 14 killed in the blast have been identified. Of the 119 injured, most of them are in the age group of 19 to 22 years, police said. Two powerful near simultaneous blasts had ripped through a crowded area close to a cluster of bus stands in Dilsukhnagar area yesterday.
11:22 Terror groups taking advantage of volatile Hyderabad:
Political chaos, a separatist movement, communal speeches and now a terror attack. Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad city in particular has never been so volatile, and it appears the situation may only worsen in the days to come. Read
11:10 Hyd blasts: Shinde to take on angry MPs at 2.30 pm:
BSP leader Mayawati blames the Andhra Pradesh government for the Hyderabad blasts. The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 12 pm, while in the Rajya Sabha, amid a din from the BJP demanding Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's scalp for the Hyderabad blasts, the chair adjourned the house till noon. Shinde is expected to address Parliament on the blasts at 2 pm (Lok Sabha) and 2.30 pm (Rajya Sabha). He is on his way back to Delhi from Hyderabad.
10:56 Delhi police claim of IM recce raises questions:
Hours after a series of bomb blasts rocked the Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad on Thursday evening, police sources in Delhi claimed that two suspected members of a terror outfit who were arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell last year had spoken of conducting a 'recce' of the area in July 2012. Read
10:52 Focus on all alerts after Afzal Guru hanging:
In the wake of the serial blasts in Hyderabad Thursday, intelligence agencies are scanning alerts that came in soon after the hanging of Afzal Guru a fortnight ago. Sources said focus is on alerts regarding threats from Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Though officials said it was too early to link the blasts to a particular group, they did have information about some kind of a retaliatory attack. Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde also admitted that they "had information about an attack for the past two days". Read
10:39 Hyderabad blasts: Dilsukhnagar on IM radar since 1999:
The twin blasts at Hyderabad are suspected to be the handiwork of Indian Mujahideen(IM) commander Riyaz Bhatkal. Although intelligence agencies are in no rush to jump to a judgment, their suspicion of IM's role is derived from the fact that the terror outfit had targeted precisely the same spot -- near the foot overbridge in Dilsukhnagar -- on August 25, 2007 when IM carried out serial blasts in Hyderabad. Read
10:23 3 days ago, IB alerted on strike in Hyderabad:
Though Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that there was no specific intelligence on blasts in Hyderabad, three days ago, intelligence officials shared an alert for a strike in a list of cities that included Hyderabad, reports NDTV
Shinde has said this warning had been shared with the listed cities, but that it was general and could not be acted upon.Read the full report on NDTV
09:56 Hyderabad Test will go ahead: Cricket Australia:
They are "concerned" after bomb blasts rocked Hyderabad, which is scheduled to host the second India-Australia Test, but Cricket Australia today said there is "no reason to doubt" that the match would go ahead as planned.
"We will make assessments in time but at this stage there is no reason to doubt that what we have planned in Hyderabad will go ahead," CA CEO James Sutherland, who is here for the opening Test which got underway today, said. Hyderabad, which is scheduled to host the match from March 2, was yesterday rocked by two bomb blasts which have so far claimed 14 lives.
09:48 UN secretary general condemns Hyderabad blasts:
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has joined the international community in condemning the terrorist attack in Hyderabad that killed more than a dozen people and wounded scores of others. "The secretary-general strongly condemns the indiscriminate attacks against civilians which occurred in the Indian city of Hyderabad," said a statement issued by the office of the UN Secretary General yesterday.
"He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of India," the statement said.
09:26 Hyderabad: IEDs, ammonium nitrate used in bombs: Vicky Nanjappa
reports from Hyderabad: The forensic sciences team from Hyderabad, which is examining the material used in the twin blast says that the composition comprised ammonium nitrate, fuel, urea, ball bearings, sharpnels, improvised explosive devices and a timer.
The material was packed in a tiffin box and was aimed at causing maximum damage. The bombs were placed on a bicycle and the fuel composition was aimed at spreading fire so that the blasts would have a greater impact.
08:57 119 injured in Hyderabad blasts, 6 critical: Shinde:
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that he visited the Hyderabad blast site this morning along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and other senior officials. He said that 14 people have been killed in the blasts and 119 are injured, six among them critical.
"There was general alert out for the entire national. I don't think the police have failed," said Shinde as he addressed the media.
The HM said that all medical expenses for the blast victims will be borne by the state government.
The prime minister has given a compensation of Rs 6 lakh for the kin of those killed in the blasts and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
01:57 John Kerry tweets about Hyderabad blasts:
Here is what US Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted to Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai : discussed importance of relationship w/ #India, expressed sympathies to brave people of #Hyderabad JK
01:05 US condemns Hyderabad blast, offers help in probe:
The United States today strongly condemned the terrorist bombings in Hyderabad that killed a dozen people and offered assistance in investigation if requested by the Indian government.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is scheduled to meet visiting Foreign Secretary, Ranjan Mathai, in a few hours would also personally convey his condolences on the terrorist attacks in Hyderabad, his spokesperson told reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
"We condemn the cowardly attack in Hyderabad, India, in the strongest possible terms, and we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected and to the people of India," the state department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.
00:13 IEDs used in twin blasts, says Hyderabad DGP:
Improvised Explosive Devices were used in the two bomb blasts which were acts of terror and were aimed at causing maximum damage, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy said tonight.
He put the number of injured at 84 who are being treated at seven different hospitals in the city. At least 12 people have been killed in the twin explosions.
IEDs were used in the blasts, which were powerful and planted on bicycles, which took place in a span of about two to three minutes, Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad. The aim was to cause maximum damage and they chose crowded areas accordingly, the DGP said, adding the two blasts took place in the Dilsukh Nagar area around 1900 hours.
The first one was at the Konark-Venkatadri cinema theatres area and the other was at a spot about 100 yards from there. The seriously injured would be shifted to corporate super-speciality hospitals in the city for better treatment if needed, he said.
Noting that the entire area has been sanitised after the blast, he appealed to the people not to panic and believe in rumours.
A high alert has been sounded in the state capital and the police are carrying out checking and frisking operations, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said. Meanwhile, personnel of National Investigation Agency, stationed in Hyderabad, visited the scene and picked up clues from burnt two-wheelers.