At 7.01 pm, the Dilsukh Nagar locality in Hyderabad on Thursday was stunned into a deafening and tragic silence as a bomb ripped apart a busy bus stop killing and wounding many. Even before, people could gather back their wits another bomb went off 200 metres away. Soon after, the locality grabbed prime time space in all news channels and put the entire internal security apparatus of the country into action. Here is a timeline of what happened and also a complete update of what we know about the twin blasts:
21 February 2013
• 7.01pm: Like any other working day, people were waiting for buses at the Dilsukh Nagar bus stand to go home from work when the first bomb ripped apart the metal shed, killing a few on the spot and injuring many. The blast occurred at a time when the assembly of crowd was maximum for any part of the day.
• 7.06pm The second blast happened at 7.06pm barely 200 metres away from the first site triggering panic among people. The street was littered with blood, limbs, dead bodies and debris even as the injured were crying for help in pain. Those who survived the impact were too dazed to react immediately before they rushed for help.
• 7.20pm News channels start flashing about the blasts. However, initially there was confusion about the actual number of blasts as at some point there were reports that five blasts had occurred.
• 8.00 pm Hyderabad MP and MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi appears in different television channels and gives a description of the area where the blasts happened.
"These were very strong blasts. At least 15 are feared dead," He appealed to the people to maintain calm. We should not allow miscreants to take charge," Owaisi appealed via CNN-IBN.
• 8.05pm Around this time, alert was sounded in the entire nation particularly in the major cities. All metros were on high alert.
• 8.15pm Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde talked to reporters for the first time and confirmed 11 deaths. Shinde gave a detail of the response to the blasts saying that a local NIA team and Intelligence Bureau sleuths were already present at the sites. He further informed that another three teams comprising personnel of NSG (post-blast team), NIA and CFSL will be flown to Hyderabad from New Delhi at 9.30pm in a BSF aircraft.
• 8.30pm NSG team from the Hyderabad hub and from Chennai rush to the blasts site.
• 8.36pm Mobile networks were inactivated around Dilsukh Nagar to prevent rumours.
• 8.45pm Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reacts to the Hyderabad blasts. In a statement, he said:
"This is a dastardly attack, the guilty will not go unpunished", the Prime Minister added. (Click here for complete statement)
• 8.50pm Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma addresses media and said that there are more onlookers than investigators causing difficulty for the police to concentrate on the preliminary investigation.
• 8.52pm Unconfirmed reports of Indian Mujahideen involvement in the twin blasts comes up.
• 8.55pm BJP president Rajnath Singh appeals to the nation for calm. "My deep condolences for those killed and injured in Hyderabad blasts," he said.
• 9.15pm Congress president Sonia Gandhi expresses her sorrow and anguish on the blasts in Hyderabad, reports ANI.
• 10.05pm Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also briefs the media for the second time to give the nation a picture of what the government was doing in reaction to the blasts in Hyderabad.
"We have information that 11 people are dead and 78 are injured. NIA, NSG are on way to Hyderabad from New Delhi. There is no information of involvement of any group. This can be ascertained after proper investigation. We cannot come to conclusion immediately. If I get an aircraft I might fly to Hyderabad at midnight too," Shinde said.
• 10.25pm Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy addresses the media announcing that the state government will bear all medical expenses of the injured besides sanctioning a relief of Rs 6 lakh to families, whose kin lost their lives in the tragedy.
• 11.21pm President Pranab Mukherjee condemns the "acts of cowardice" and expressed condolences to families of the bereaved.
22 February 2013
• Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde reached the blasts site in Dilsukh Nagar along with Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy and other officials. The Director General of Police Dinesh Reddy briefed the Union home minister. Later talking to reporters the home minister said that the death toll rose to 14 and 119 were injured, six being critical.
• Opposition leaders in Parliament, which saw many adjournments during the course of the day, take on the government. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj criticised the government for failing to act on intelligence input, "If there was information, why was nothing done to prevent such an incident?"
• Two CCTV cameras in the proximity of the blasts site were not working.
• Details of the bombs emerge. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were used to trigger the twin blasts. A kilogram of Ammonium Nitrate was the primary component in the bombs besides other chemicals. Iron nails were used as splinters. The modus operandi points fingers towards the involvement of Indian Mujahideen.
• 10.08 am: Two unexploded bombs found at Hyderabad blasts site, say investigators.
Investigators have said that they have found a few unexploded bombs at the Hyderabad blast sites, adding that this would help them to find out more information on who was responsible for the attack.
Meanwhile Times Now reported that several jailed members of the Indian Mujahideen were being questioned as well.
• BJP president Rajnath Singh and Shahnawaz Hussain reaches Hyderabad blasts site. "There are no politics in this, the whole country is together," said Singh.
• Two FIRs registered in view of twin blasts in Hyderabad.
• 2.00pm Bomb scare near Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in New Delhi. The discovery of an unidentified bag put Delhi Police into action.
• 2.15pm Reports coming in that investigators have zeroed in on three three specific names suspected to be involved with the Hyderabad blasts.
• 2.30pm Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde makes his statement in Parliament. Here is the full text:
"On 21.02.2013 twin blasts took place in a busy locality of Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad City at a local bus stop and a Canteen, which were about 150 mtrs from each other at 6.58 pm and 7.01 pm respectively. Click here for complete report
• 2.40pm Pakistan foreign ministry issues statement condemning Hyderabad blasts
"Pakistan strongly condemns the bomb blasts in Hyderabad, India, last night causing several deaths and injuries.
Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. All acts of terrorism are unjustifiable regardless of their motivation. Being itself a victim of terrorism, Pakistan fully understands and shares the pain and agony of the people of India. Our prayers and thoughts are with the families of victims of this terrorist attack."