Deadly bomb attacks hit Indian city of Hyderabad

Deadly bomb attacks hit Indian city of Hyderabad

Deadly bomb attacks hit Indian city of Hyderabad

Updated 22 February 2013, 15:54 AEST

Cricket Australia denies reports the Hyderabad Test will be called off after a series of deadly bomb blasts.

A series of bomb blasts in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad has killed at least 14 people and injured scores more.

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh said the attacks were a "dastardly act" that would not go unpunished.

The blasts occurred about five minutes apart near a pair of cinemas and a bus stand in Dilsukh Nagar, a crowded and congested area of Hyderabad.

Earlier reports said up to 20 people were killed, but home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters on Friday: "The total dead are 14, total injured is 119. Out of this, six are critical."

It is believed the bombs were planted on bicycles.

Doctors struggled to treat a stream of wounded victims at city hospitals and anguished relatives clamoured for news of their loved ones.

The charred wreckage of parked scooters lay on the ground.

It took local police hours to clear the area so they could collect evidence.

It came with the nation on alert after the recent hanging of a separatist unleashed protests in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

Indian government officials say the blasts were a terror strike by a well-trained group that timed the explosions to cause maximum damage.

N Kiran Reddy, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, told reporters that the blasts were intended to incite communal violence in the city, which has a large Muslim population.

"This attack is only to disturb all communities living in the city. I request people to maintain calm and they should not visit the blast site."

Foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, the top civil servant in India's external affairs ministry, did not rule out foreign involvement.

"I am not sure there is any evidence it could be home-grown terrorism. We have had a number of attacks which have been traced to inspiration or leadership outside the country," he said from Washington.

Australia on tour

Hyderabad is due to host the second Test of the India-Australia series from March 2, after the first Test on Friday in the southern city of Chennai.

A Cricket Australia statement says it has received "no information to suggest there is any threat to the team", but talks are ongoing.

Some Indian news outlets are reporting Australia will not travel, but a team spokesperson says the reports are wrong.

The spokesperson says the safety of the team is a top priority, and Cricket Australia is liaising with both local authorities and the Australian High Commission.

"The safety of the squad is of paramount importance," the statement read.

"Australian team management and Cricket Australia staff are liaising with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, local authorities and the Australian High Commission to ensure we have all the appropriate information."

The Foreign Affairs Department says Australians should closely monitor the situation in Hyderabad and follow the advice of local authorities.

It also says terrorist attacks could happen at any time in India with little or no warning.

The overall level of advice for Australians in India has not been changed, with the department recommending people exercise a high degree of caution.

ABC/AFP

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