Friday, May 18, 2007

Blast at India's Hyderabad Mosque Kills Five People (Update1)

Blast at India's Hyderabad Mosque Kills Five People (Update1)

By Bibhudatta Pradhan

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- At least five people were killed and more than eight injured when a bomb exploded at a mosque in Hyderabad, the capital of India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh, during Friday's afternoon prayers.

The blast took place at about 1:30 p.m. local time at the Mecca mosque, one of India's oldest, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the chief minister of the state, told reporters in New Delhi today.

``It's an intentional sabotage on the peace and tranquility of the state,'' Reddy said in the televised news conference. ``We are trying to bring normalcy back.''

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ``condemned the blast and urged members of all communities to maintain peace and communal harmony,'' in a statement issued by e-mail in New Delhi today.

Two other bombs detected at the site were defused, the chief minister said. Reddy, who also appealed for religious harmony, said those who wanted to create conflict between India's communities were responsible.

The NDTV 24x7 television channel showed pictures of injured people being taken away in ambulances. The blast was followed by police being pelted with stones by the crowds around the mosque, the channel said. The area has been cordoned off and all shops around the mosque have been ordered shut, the channel reported.

India has been facing terrorist attacks, including rebel activities in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and some northeastern states, besides Maoist guerrilla insurgency in the southern and eastern states.

The country had its worst terrorist attack in 13 years in July last year, when bombs on commuter trains in the country's financial capital Mumbai killed at least 182 people. Explosions near a mosque in the western town of Malegaon in Maharashtra in September left 31 people dead.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net .

Last Updated: May 18, 2007 08:28 EDT

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