Hyderabad, Feb. 21: Sitting duck — that’s how old-timers describe Dilsukhnagar, the scene of this evening’s Hyderabad blasts.
A bustling educational, and commercial centre, the neighbourhood had its first brush with terror nearly a decade-and-a-half ago when a scooter bomb went off near a Sai Baba temple in 1999, killing two persons, officials said.
An exploded bomb was found close to Venkatadri theatre, located near the site of one of the blasts today, on the day another round of twin explosions had rocked Hyderabad in August 2007.
Hundreds of government colonies and wholesale markets are easy targets for potential attackers scouring the 20sqkm cluster, located on the city’s south-eastern flank and hardly a 20-minute drive from the Charminar.
An interstate expressway passing by the locality offers easy getaway for trouble-makers, who could take it and vanish from the city before word spreads and cops mount a chase. It is also a junction where transport services heading to and from Howrah, Vijayawada and Chennai converge.
Police said CCTV cameras were installed in the area and the footage would be vetted.
The neighbourhood is named after the late Dilsukh Ram, a wealthy resident who owned large tracts of agricultural land. He later split his land and built a colony, christening it Dilsukhnagar.
Once only a residential suburb, it transformed into a major commercial hub as Hyderabad witnessed the IT-driven high growth over the past decade.
Like any throbbing nerve-centre, Dilsukhnagar attracts a floating population with people flocking to the area from across the country for business, studies and even to visit relatives.
The Dilsukhnagar bus stand flows with passengers for the best part of the day and the local fruit mart, called the Gaddiannaram Fruit Market, is touted as one of Asia’s largest.
Among the area’s many educational institutions are coaching centres that draw students from afar, including some from Bengal and the Northeast, for their technology courses. Students numbering over 1 lakh study at these institutions.
A textiles market located in Kothapet, not far from today’s attack site, is another big draw. Spread over four floors in a complex, it has hundreds of outlets that offer an array of handloom and textile items.
Local councillor and TDP floor leader Singireddy Srinivasa Reddy was among the first leaders to reach the spot this evening. “It was a gory scene as many bodies were lying on the road in a pool of blood. Other people were in a state of shock,” Singireddy said.
City mayor Majid Hussain faced protests before chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy reached the area with home minister Sabita Reddy and labour minister Danam Nagender.
Appealing to people not to believe in rumours, MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said that peace should not be disturbed and people should follow good sense. Investigating agencies, he said, should do a professional job and find the real perpetrators.