At the time the twin blasts rocked Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad, hundreds of people were waiting at bus stops, shopping, or enjoying a evening snack at the eateries in the lanes between Venkatadri and Konark theatres. Scores of people had got out of the two theatres minutes earlier, and hundreds of students were near the sites.
Had the IED blasts caused an explosion in any of the LPG cylinders in the eateries, the damage could have been much more severe, police said. Police and fire brigade personnel have since removed the LPG cylinders.
“The two places where the blasts occurred are lined with roadside eateries and they have LPG cylinders, sometimes two or three, out in the open. If the blasts had caused the LPG cylinders to explode, it would have been catastrophic,” a police official said.
Police officials said it was a providential escape for many considering that the bombs exploded in such a dense area. Most of the people were standing near the many bus shelters that dot the area, and police are assessing if these had shielded them from the impact.
“When the first blast happened, we had in fact thought it was a cylinder blast because there are so many of them on the roadside attached to the eateries,” said Venkat Narayana, a textile trader from Nalgonda. “I then saw bodies lying near the cellphone shop. Plastic plates, chappals and other things were lying all over. Then the second blast happened.”
S Santosh, a home guard, said that after the first blast, which was heard up to half a kilometre away, most of the people, including those who were not injured, were on the ground or on their knees.
“I think that saved many lives. Also, when the first blast happened inside the lane of Konark theatre, many people on the other lane outside Venkatadri theatre ran towards the main road which may have saved their lives.”
DGP Dinesh Reddy said there were many people within the area of the first blast’s impact and eight people were killed instantly while others received injuries to their faces and chests. In the second explosion, three persons were killed instantly.