Muslims and Hindus join together in a memorial in honor of the Hyderabad victims
Along with New Delhi and Mumbai, Hyderabad became the third large Indian city to be victimized by a major Islamist attack.
There were two explosions at a crowded park where a laser show was underway and a third five minutes later at a popular fast food center on Saturday night. The bombs used alarm clocks as their triggering devices.
The toll of dead and injured was supposed to be much higher. Indian police found and defused 19 bombs in plastic bags attached to timers at bus stops, parks, bridges and food stalls, planted so as to cause maximum death among civilians.
Going by available intelligence, the nature of the explosives, and the bomb-maker’s construction techniques — what forensic experts refer to as a ‘signature’ — the bombings were likely carried out by the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), a subgroup of our old pals Pakistani -based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. A fair amount of evidence collected by India's security services , electronic and otherwise points at HuJI’s director of south India operations, Abdul Sahel Mohammad, who operates out of Karachi, Pakistan according to Indian authorities. Mohammad is a one-time Hyderabad resident who uses the code names ‘Shahid’ and ‘Bilal’ and is wanted by Interpol for at least four separate terrorist atacks.
India has repeatedly called for his arrest, but Pakistan has responded by flatly denying that Mohammad is in Pakistan.
This could be a very ominous sign for the future. Barely a year ago, armed with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf stated that he was committed to a peaceful relationship with India and to ending terrorism directed at India from Pakistan. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then revived peace talks and dialogue with Pakistan, including the establishment of an India-Pakistan joint counter-terrorism force. Since then, Islamists and their allies in the Pakistani military and security services have been working to undermine Musharraf's regime.
Given his domestic troubles and the political unrest in Pakistan, the Hyderabad bombing could very well indicate that the Islamist groups are no longer under control.
On the positive side, in Hyderabad itself, peace has largely prevailed between Hindus and Muslims, in no small part because local Muslims have unequivocally denounced the attacks, and are mourning their own dead and wounded....the bombers did not discriminate.
"There is no doubt that it was a terrorist attack aimed at all people in Hyderabad —not Hindus, not Muslims, not anybody alone. In this hour of great crisis we need to stand together to defeat the enemy", said Hyderabad’s MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
Mazhar Hussain, in-charge of the Confederation of Voluntary Organizations, said that the bomb blasts in the city should not be looked from the prism of Hindus and Muslims. "It is a bigger game the objective of which is to hurt India, bleed India. The investigation therefore should be quick, fair and credible at the local as well as national level", he said.